Cambridge Analytica's real business isn't data

As the Cambridge Analytica scandal unfolds, the Western world is meeting a little-known part of its political industry, the one that has operated in developing nations since at least the 1990s.

Its methods as revealed by Britain's Channel 4 News, whose reporter posed as a potential Sri Lankan client, may be a bit extreme - but for the most part, the consultancy has been one of many firms that have brought Western-style electioneering to lawless environments in which it has been blatantly abused.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2018, with the headline 'Cambridge Analytica's real business isn't data'. Print Edition | Subscribe