Back in early June I told you about Faculty AI, the firm run by Dominic Cummings’ mates and the inexplicably large contracts this relatively small company has received. I told you about their role in the vote leave campaign and their links to dodgy tech companies such as Palatine who ride roughshod over the privacy and civil liberties of internet users.
Today The Guardian published more information about one of those contracts. Actually the same one I spoke about in June. The doomed track and trace app that never worked but that we paid Faculty AI £400,000 for anyway.
What it did achieve, as well as making money for its government minister shareholder, Theodore Agnew was to track conversations on social media. Nowt to do with track and trace but lots to do with a cynical government spying upon its citizens conversations. This part of the contract was redacted when the news first broke which is why I didn’t tell you about it 2 months ago. But now, following legal pressure and questions asked in the House of Lords, an unredacted version was published. This unredacted version reveals what Faculty was really up to on behalf of the British government.
To put this into a context it’s worth remembering that Faculty AI is run by people who were involved in the vote leave campaign’s use of Cambridge Analytica to spy on citizens’ internet messaging and send targeted misinformation to select groups of social media users. The company director’s brother also worked with Cummings on the tory party election campaign in 2019 – of course there’s no reason to assume there was any wrongdoing or sneakiness there.
Boris’ diehard supporters will, of course point out that governments have monitored citizens for years and they’d be right. Governments often use covert surveillance to monitor those suspected of serious crime – following court judgements giving them permission to do so because the case for public safety outweighs the case for personal privacy.
There’s no way that public safety can reasonably be used to justify covert surveillance of the British population to provide political advantage to the most corrupt government this country has seen since the 19th century.