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Cambridge Analytica creator has State Department contract

Alexander Nix, CEO, Cambridge Analytica, speaks at the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal
Alexander Nix, CEO, Cambridge Analytica, speaks at the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Horacio Villalobos, Corbis/Getty Images

Strategic Communications Laboratories, best known for its work with its offshoot and collaborator Cambridge Analytica, appears to have an open contract with the State Department. DefenseOne first noted the contract on a government contracts database, where it is listed as still open.

Why it matters: Cambridge Analytica has domestically come under fire for fraudulently slurping data off of Facebook through user quizzes. But the United States is among the most lenient countries in the world when it comes to data privacy. SCL received a $500,000 contract for "target audience research" to help the State Department counter ISIS propaganda. It's possible the group's data harvesting methods will be as unpopular abroad as they have been in the U.S.