Arron Banks, the insurers and my strange data trail

Carole Cadwalladr just wanted to insure her car. Six months later, she found a mass of personal details held by a firm she had never contacted that is run by Leave.EU’s biggest donor, Arron Banks. How did it get there?

If a 29-year-old Peugeot 309 is the answer, it’s fair to wonder: what on earth is the question? In fact, I had no idea about either the question or the answer when I submitted a “subject access request” to Eldon Insurance Services in December last year. Or that my car – a vehicle that dates from the last millennium – could hold any sort of clue to anything. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, however, in pursuing the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s that however weird things look, they can always get weirder.

Because I was simply seeking information, as I have for the last 16-plus months, about what the Leave campaigns did during the referendum – specifically, what they did with data. And the subject access request – a legal mechanism I’d learned about from Paul-Olivier Dehaye, a Swiss mathematician and data expert – was a shot in the dark.

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Poll results: which unlocking method do you prefer?

The results are in. We asked you which method of unlocking you prefer for your smartphone. With the development of technologies, we’re seeing methods such as face unlock, iris scanning and more become commonplace. The in-display fingerprint sensor is also in the works too. So, which was your preferred way?

(This is a preview – click here to read the entire entry.)

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How firms you have never interacted with can target your Facebook

Advertisers are seemingly able to access accounts with no input from the user

On one of Facebook’s myriad setting screens, a place where few dare tread, is a list of places you’ve probably never heard of, all of whom insist that they know you. It’s emblematic of the data protection issues Facebook is struggling to address in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, of the fact that these problems spread far beyond Facebook, and of the easy solutions the company could take if only it had the courage.

This list is the collection of “advertisers you’ve interacted with”. You can find it halfway down your ad preferences screen, below a list of algorithmically suggested topics that Facebook thinks you’re interested in (if you’re a heavy user, these may be scarily accurate; if you’re not, they’ll likely be hilariously off).

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