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Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics


NUMBER 117 
l
1st SESSION 
l
42nd PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Thursday, September 27, 2018

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (1100)  

[English]

    This is the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, meeting 118, and this is a study of the breach of personal information involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.
    Today, we have back Zackary Massingham, Chief Executive Officer of AggregateIQ.
    I'll turn it over to the clerk for a moment for the affirmation.
    Good morning, Mr. Massingham.
    The solemn affirmation is as follows, if you can repeat after me:
    I—state your name—do solemnly, sincerely, and truly affirm and declare the taking of any oath is according to my religious belief unlawful. And I do also solemnly, sincerely and truly affirm and declare that the evidence I shall give on this examination shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
    I, Zack Massingham, do solemnly, truly, and sincerely affirm and declare the taking of any oath is according to my religious belief unlawful. And I do also solemnly, sincerely and truly affirm and declare that the evidence I shall give on this examination shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Massingham.
    Do you have opening comments? You have 10 minutes.
    No; just thank you for inviting me back today.
    The first question is from Mr. Saini, for seven minutes.
    Good morning, Mr. Massingham. Thank you very much for being here.
    I'm going to go back to a question I had asked Mr. Silvester when he appeared here prior to the summer break. I asked him about querying data in the Ripon program that features an option for a disengagement target. Chris Vickery had uncovered evidence that in the Ripon voter querying data, there is an option for a disengagement target.
    What do you understand the purpose of this value to be?
    I'm sort of not familiar with that data that's there.
    You're not familiar with...?
    Yes.
    Okay. You were not involved in any of the production of this programming or anything.
    No. I'm not a software developer.
    Okay, but you would have understood how it worked, wouldn't you? As a co-owner of the company, you would have understood the product that you were selling. You may not have produced the product, but you would have understood what the value of the product was, wouldn't you?
    I believe that what you're referring to there is one of SCL's scores. I'm not familiar with all their scores or any of the different things that were there. I think Jeff could probably speak to that better than I could.
     When you produced the product, you never did a run-through of the product. You didn't understand how the product worked.
    Since you were going to sell the product.... I mean, the first thing they teach you in business is that you have to understand your product to sell it. I don't understand how you wouldn't know this, especially if it's a value that was purposely put into a program.
    Sir, SCL employed us for contract development on that. They defined what scores or information they wanted to present, and our team put that together for them.
    Okay, so you don't have any understanding of why they did that, or you didn't find it odd that they had a value for disengagement.
    I wasn't aware that they even had a value for disengagement, sir.
    Okay.
    Can you describe, in detail, the work that you're doing for the Ukrainian political party Osnova?
    No, I cannot.
    I believe they have an app. That's about it.
    So your company, which has been reiterated....
     There are two principals, you and Mr. Silvester, and you are doing work in another country and you don't know what that work is.
    It's not us. We're simply providing a software tool.
    Who are you providing this tool to?
    It's to WPA.
    You're providing this tool to an—

  (1105)  

    They're an American company.
    Okay. You're subcontracted by WPA to do this work in Ukraine.
    No, we just give the tool to WPA.
    You have no connection with Ukraine or any work done for Ukraine. You're simply working for WPA.
    Correct.
    Okay.
    You know that the CEO of WPA, Chris Wilson, was Ted Cruz's former pollster. He is the principal of WPA, and he's recently appeared on Russian state propaganda to talk about his campaign work.
    Were you not concerned in any way that your work was being used in another country, or were you unaware of that?
     I was unaware of any appearance.
    You were contracted by WPA to provide a product and you had no inclination to ask where the product was going to go or how it would be used? Was it just about doing the work and forgetting about the repercussions?
    I'm sorry. We provided it. It's simply a tool. It can be licensed by—
    No, I'm not disagreeing with what you provided. Let's just keep this very simple in business ways. You're a businessman and I'm a businessman. Let's keep it very simple.
    You're contracted by somebody to produce a product. The product you're producing is for WPA. WPA is using that product in Ukraine or has business in Ukraine. You never knew that was where the product was going to go, that was where it was going to be used, why it was being used, what purpose it was being used for? You had no idea of any of that?
    I get that it's a tool. It's a tool—it's a hammer, it's a screwdriver. I get all of that, but you didn't know where it was going to be used?
    No, we knew where it was going to be used.
    You knew where it was going to be used?
    Yes.
    It didn't bother you that this company was doing work in Ukraine for a political party? It didn't occur to you in any way?
    No. The tool itself is quite generic. It's a canvassing tool. There's nothing particularly special about it, so that wouldn't bother me.
    Okay, let's move on to a different question.
    It was recently reported that you have developed a script that makes fake work logs. Can you tell me why you developed a script, for which client, whether you have ever used it in Canada, and whether you've ever used it yourself?
    Sorry; I'm not a developer, so I don't know and I couldn't actually speak to that.
    Okay. You don't know that question. Let me ask you another question.
    Who is Philippe Traverse? Do you know who he is?
     He's an employee.
    What do you suppose he meant when on June 24, 2016, he thanked UKIP for the free money?
    I'm sorry, but I don't know. That was well before he started with us as an employee.
    Yes, but on June 24, 2016, he made a comment in which he thanked UKIP—the United Kingdom Independence Party—for the free money. Do you know what he meant by that? Was it anything to do with Brexit? What money might he be referring to?
    I honestly don't know, sir.
    But he was your employee?
    Not at that time, no. He had not started then.
    When did he start?
    I think it was almost a year and a half after that.
    Okay. Thank you.
    Next up we have Mr. Kent, for seven minutes.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Thank you for being with us this morning, Mr. Massingham.
    To cut to the chase, are there any remarks you made to this committee earlier this year that you wish to correct before the committee today?
    I don't believe so. No.
    That would be with regard to the relationship of AggregateIQ to SCL.
    No, I'm perfectly comfortable with my statement.
    With regard to Mr. Wylie's testimony that AggregateIQ was in effect a shell company to process data that had been acquired by other means....?
    No, we don't process data. We're modellers. We don't do anything like that.
    An awful lot has happened since you testified before us.
    In July, the Information Commissioner's Office in the United Kingdom issued an enforcement notice ordering the company to stop handling data belonging to British citizens. At the same time, although unnoticed until the last couple of weeks, the Information Commissioner's Office accused AggregateIQ and issued the first violation notice under the European Union General Data Protection Regulation, accusing AggregateIQ of violating articles 5, 6, and 14 of the GDPR “because [it]...processed personal data in a way that the data subjects were not aware of, for purposes,” as they say, “which they would not have expected, and without a lawful basis for that processing.”
    I understand AggregateIQ is appealing that notice of violation. What can you tell us about that?

  (1110)  

     We have appealed that issue. We've had a very good dialogue with the ICO. They have recognized that the notice was far too broad, saying that “on further consideration, the Commissioner accepts that the terms of the notice were overly broad”. Accordingly, she has invited the tribunal to substitute a notice with annex 1, basically saying that once we have completed the Office of the Information Commissioner and Office of the Privacy Commissioner investigations, we will simply delete the 1,000 or so email addresses that we had.
    In your earlier testimony with Mr. Silvester, you were asked whether or not you sought legal counsel with the knowledge that you may have violated the new GDPR rules or the previous U.K. data protection rules.
    You denied that you'd sought legal counsel at that time. Do you still hold that position?
    I'm sorry, I don't recall that.
    Well, it is in the testimony. I think the concern of the British Information Commissioner is that in disregard of the rules and because you still possessed the data at the time after the GDPR came into effect, in effect you were violating the section that says that collection of data from European residents, from British residents, without consent for the manipulation, the processing, and the handling that might later occur—data that is transferred to foreign locations and then reintroduced to electoral processes—is in fact a violation of the new law.
    Were you aware of that?
    We have an ongoing dialogue with the ICO. That data was never used. It was simply backed up and in that repository by mistake.
    Once we have concluded everything with the OIPC and OPC, then that will be removed.
    Do you still deny that you knowingly or unknowingly worked with data that had been improperly harvested from Facebook?
    Sorry, can you repeat that question?
    There were various denials in your earlier testimony with Mr. Silvester about AggregateIQ ever handling improperly harvested Facebook personal data.
    AggregateIQ has never received any raw Facebook data.
    We're not saying “raw”. It may have been boiled down, but I knew you could—
    I couldn't tell you where the sources of all the data came from, from SCL.
    Did it not concern you at the time that you were dealing with data that was as personal, as we all know it is, that certainly other jurisdictions have—
    What we saw of that information wasn't totally personal, no.

  (1115)  

    In other words, you still deny that there was any knowledge about the source of the data that you were working with, whether it was raw data or otherwise.
    Yes.
    How much time do I have?
    About a minute.
    Mr. Massingham, can you tell us about the contract that you entered into with a U.K. company called Hanbury and Mr. Ameet Gill to represent AIQ's interests in the United Kingdom in 2017?
    I think that was just a meeting for a small consulting project. I'm not sure anything really came of it.
    Has it expired?
    I believe so, yes. We didn't do much work.
    I'll relinquish time until next time.
    Thank you, Mr. Kent.
    Next up, for seven minutes, is Mr. Angus.
    Thank you, Mr. Massingham, for joining us. We were sorry you didn't join us last time. I hope you're feeling better.
    Thanks for having me back.
    Thank you.
    One of the questions we were trying to figure out with the BeLeave campaign was you were paid basically about a million dollars Canadian for about six days' work, and there was very little data gathered in that time. Mr. Silvester explained that your role with the project wasn't to collect data but to place ads.
    Was that the role that you had with BeLeave?
    That's correct. Any pledges they might have received were a happy extra for them.
    Okay.
    In those six days, June 16 to June 23, 2016, you were placing ads for the BeLeave campaign, and that's where the money went?
    I believe so, yes.
    The U.K. Information Commissioner's Office reports that “BeLeave did not...run any ads, albeit their electoral returns indicates they committed expenditure to this”, and the privacy commissioner also found that the BeLeave campaign didn't run any ads.
    What were you doing if you weren't running ads?
    I'm sorry; we were showing ads on Facebook, on BeLeave's ads account. I'm confused by the statement there that—
    Did you read the findings of the U.K. information commissioner's and the electoral commissioner's report on your work?
    Jeff has been handling that particular matter, but what—
    You're the CEO and you didn't read it? It says you didn't place any ads. I'm confused. You got paid a million dollars. If you didn't place ads, where did the money go?
    I'm telling you here today that we did place ads and those ads were placed in BeLeave's ad account and their budget was spent on their ads.
    Okay.
    You say that the information commissioner's report and the electoral commissioner's report is wrong.
    Perhaps it's simply misinterpreted.
    Misinterpreted?
    Remember you're under oath, because this is a big issue. If two independent reports said you didn't place any ads and you tell our committee you did place ads, it's hard to believe you over two independent commissions that were not working together that said BeLeave did not place any ads, so what did you do with the million dollars Canadian that you were paid for six days' work?
    As I told you, we placed those ads for BeLeave and the BeLeave ad account.
    Okay, because in the drive, there were ad mock-ups, so you had set up ad mock-ups, but they said that there were no ads actually run.
    In the Slack logs, where you tell Mr. Grimes—who is the 22-year-old student who suddenly has a million dollars Canadian to spend—that he's on track to spend $300,000, what were you spending that $300,000 on?
    On his Facebook ad.
    Okay, and you said, “Did you need me to grab some money for you?”
    What was your role in moving this money?
    I believe that in the chat log you're referring to, Darren was asking if it would be possible that he'd redirect some of the money that had gone to us back to him for other campaign purposes. That never actually happened.
    Where did that $300,000 that you were going to grab for him.... Where were you going to grab that money from?

  (1120)  

    That was money that had already been sent directly to us.
    From whom?
     Vote Leave.
    From Vote Leave, yes, because he says that's fine and that Victoria is sorting this out—Victoria Woodcock.
    What the electoral commission and the privacy commission in the U.K. found was that there was a breach of British electoral law based on a plan to circumvent the finance limits between BeLeave and Vote Leave, and between those two is your organization, which is the conduit for that money. Do you accept the findings that your work was involved in breaking British electoral law and undermining the legitimacy of the Brexit vote?
    We never saw any evidence of coordination while we were there conducting work for either organization. In Facebook's own report, they have shown that BeLeave placed those ads, so I'm very confused as to how things are being interpreted now.
     I'm very confused too. You say you saw no evidence of coordination, and Mr. Silvester says almost to a T what you just said, “We never saw any evidence of coordination.”
    You guys come out of nowhere and you get a million dollars from BeLeave. You get $5 million Canadian from Vote Leave. You're the conduit in a campaign that's been found guilty of breaching electoral laws. You're asking, “Should I get money for you?” and you say you see no coordination at all?
    How do you get into this business if you don't do due diligence? Otherwise, you're getting played a total sap here. How can you tell us that you didn't see that coordination?
    We do do our due diligence, and we saw no evidence of coordination between those campaigns.
    Okay. One of the documents we have is the picture that was leaked by Sanni. It's you at the Vote Leave headquarters with Steve Parkinson of Vote Leave, and there's the Thames and Westminster in the background. That's also where the campaign for BeLeave was, right?
    I'm not sure where the campaign for BeLeave was.
    You don't know where the campaign for BeLeave was.
    I'm not sure they had an office. They were a small organization.
    Weren't they in the same building?
    I don't know.
    Let's just go back over this again.
    Christopher Wylie said that you were set up as “a proxy money-laundering vehicle” between these two campaigns. You say you don't know where their organization headquarters was or if it even had one. You are coordinating money between the two, and they've been found guilty of setting up a plan to circumvent the electoral laws; they said you spent no money on ads, and you're telling us you did.
    Credibly, if you're going to do international work, how did you get set up to play the patsy, unless you were involved?
    I'm sorry, but I don't understand the question—
    You don't understand my question? How is it possible that this campaign was found guilty of breaching electoral finance laws? Chris Wylie said that you were set up as the money-laundering vehicle. You're coordinating between two campaigns. There's money flowing back and forth. You say that you spent that money on ads. Two independent reports find that you did not spend on any ads.
    If you're the honest guy in all of this, how did you get these contracts? How do you get to do all this international work if you're so easy to play the patsy here?
    I'll say it again. We saw no evidence of any coordination between those campaigns. We placed those ads—
    But the two commissioned reports found evidence of collusion, and it goes back to you. How did you not see that?
    I'm sorry. We have not been listed in those documents. To the best of my knowledge, we're not listed in those documents, so I cannot comment.
    Thank you, Mr. Angus.
    Next up for seven minutes is Mr. Erskine-Smith.
    Dominic Cummings said of AIQ, “We couldn't have done it without them.”
    First, do you believe that AIQ's work was instrumental in the success of the Brexit campaign, or is Mr. Cummings wrong?
    No, I think we all played our part there. They had an amazing team.
    To follow up on Mr. Angus's questions, you just indicated you're not in the documents, but I just want to make sure I know what document I'm talking about. I have an Electoral Commission report from the summer, July, that lists you repeatedly discussing a common plan between BeLeave and Vote Leave. Is this the document that you don't think you're listed in?

  (1125)  

    I don't have these documents in front of me. I'm not sure.
    You've never read the findings of the Electoral Commission.
    No, not in their completion.
    Okay, remind me what the position is that you hold at AIQ. I'm confused.
    I'm the CEO.
    That's interesting. You're the CEO of the company, and the company has been found to be part of a common plan with respect to violations of election finance law in the U.K. and you haven't read the report.
    The report is less than 50 pages. Are you aware the report is less than 50 pages?
    As I believe we've told the committee, I have been off work for some time. Jeff has been handling most of these proceedings, if not all of these proceedings.
    You are.... You haven't read the report and you're simply unaware that AIQ is referenced in this document multiple times. That's the truth?
     I....
    Mr. Nathaniel Erskine-Smith: Take your time.
    Mr. Zackary Massingham: While we might be mentioned, they have—
    So you are aware that you're mentioned...baby steps.
    I haven't read the document, so I cannot be sure. If it were in front of me, I could certainly review it.
    Let's go with this, then. This is from the Electoral Commission report. Because you haven't read it, let me read some of it to you:
On 11 June 2016 Mr Cummings wrote to Mr Clake saying that Vote Leave had all the money it could spend, and suggesting the following: “However, there is another organisation that could spend your money. Would you be willing to send the 100k to some social media ninjas...?”
    You're the “social media ninjas”. Are you aware of that?
    Yes.
    Okay. All right. Excellent.
    It continues:
While BeLeave may have contributed its own design style and input, the services provided by Aggregate IQ to BeLeave used Vote Leave messaging, at the behest of BeLeave’s campaign director. It also appears to have had the benefit of Vote Leave data and/or data it obtained via online resources set up and provided to it by Vote Leave to target and distribute its campaign material. This is shown by evidence from Facebook that Aggregate IQ used identical target lists for Vote Leave and BeLeave ads....
    No. That's not what that shows.
    Maybe you should have read the report if you wanted to disagree with it. Do you think that's fair?
    Jeff has read the report. I believe they have submitted a number of documents. They have a dialogue going back and forth explaining just what exactly went on there. They continue to work through it.
    This is probably hopeful of me to ask, but have you read the Information Commissioner's report?
    Then you're also unaware that the report references AIQ multiple times.
    If you say so.
    In answer to Mr. Angus's questions, when you said that AIQ is not referred to in the documents, maybe you should have said, “I didn't read the two specific reports from the Electoral Commission and from the ICO. I don't know if they reference AggregateIQ, because I haven't read them, even though I'm the CEO of the company.”
    That might have been the answer, right?
    That's fair.
    In evidence handed to British politicians, Facebook wrote that it found “certain billing and administration connections” between AIQ and Cambridge Analytica. Can you shed some light on that?
    I believe that was all from work we had done together in early 2015 with SCL during the midterms. The billing and administration item that they were referring to was that they had given money to us to place ads. We were not able to get through all of the budget that they had assigned for that period. We simply directed Facebook to refund the money directly to them, as opposed to us and back.
    Remind me—who was your main point of contact at SCL?
    For which line?
    Well, SCL was the bulk of your business, as I understand from your colleague Mr. Silvester, who knows far more about the business than you do. Who was your main point of contact at SCL for the bulk of the work you did?
     [Inaudible—Editor]
    Have you ever done any work with Emerdata?
    No, I don't believe so.

  (1130)  

    Are you familiar with what that organization is?
    You've never heard of it before.
    Are they something that spun up after SCL in the U.K.?
    It sounds like you have heard of them before. Have you ever done any work for them or been in contact with them?
    You've never been in contact with any of the individuals who are now part of Emerdata?
    I couldn't tell you who is part of Emerdata.
    Have you ever done any further work for SCL?
    I'm going to leave it there, Mr. Massingham, but I'll say this: frankly, I haven't gotten any answers from you. You appeared before before this committee and you lied. You're appearing before us again, and you're just not telling any part of the truth whatsoever.
    I can't say you're lying, because I don't know if you've read the reports, but if you haven't read the reports, as the CEO of the company you should be embarrassed for yourself.
    I just got back to work, and I'm not lying.
    Thank you, Mr. Erskine-Smith.
    Next up for five minutes is Monsieur Gourde.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Mr. Massingham, at the start of the meeting, you talked about a software program created by your designers.
    I understand that you are not a designer, but your company was targeting a certain market with that software.
    What market was it directed to?

[English]

     Can you repeat the question, please? I just want to make sure I'm understanding correctly.

[Translation]

    At the start of the meeting today, you talked about a software program and said you did not design it yourself since you are not a designer. It was nonetheless intended for certain markets because you marketed it and received money for the services offered by this software. What was the target market for those services?

[English]

    Politics.
    If I might ask, to which software are you referring? Most, if not everything, we do is custom development, “on spec” for a client. I'm just trying to answer as best I can.

[Translation]

    Okay, we will get there.
    Did you have more than one potential client for the services your company was offering? Was it for just one client or a wide range of clients around the world?

[English]

    We worked for a broad spectrum of clients, companies, and campaigns.

[Translation]

    Whose intellectual property is the program that you used in your work?

[English]

    If, in a development contract, the person who came to us for the work wants the intellectual property, then it's theirs and they own all of that work. In other instances, we have some of our own tools that we license.

[Translation]

    Okay.
    Those tools have a patent and a license and are exclusive to the company that owns them.

[English]

    Correct.

[Translation]

    Okay.
    You said earlier that you are not aware of the source of the data you worked with, but do you know what data you needed? What kind of data was fed into the software tools that were available?

[English]

    It could be any source of data for SCL, or it could be none.
     In SCL's case, which is what I think you're asking about, I believe they had multiple sources of data from any number of vendors that they packaged and then used within the software product we built for them.

  (1135)  

[Translation]

    Was the age of the general population on voters' lists of interest to you?

[English]

    Yes.

[Translation]

    Did you have data showing that people aged 18 to 35 were likely to vote differently from those aged 55 to 80?

[English]

    If that's what the client is looking to see, some sort of score, then yes, I'm able to present it.

[Translation]

    Was the age of the U.K. population available on voters' lists at the time of the Brexit vote?

[English]

    No, I don't believe so.

[Translation]

    So, if age groups were used, where does that data come from?

[English]

    I don't believe we tracked people by age. Facebook and other ad networks certainly would have reported on interaction, on what types of demographics were interacting with certain messages, and the campaigns would have used this information to make decisions.
     Thank you, Monsieur Gourde.
    We're out of time. Just to make the committee aware, I want to have about 10 or 15 minutes available for committee business at the very end of the meeting. Certainly if we still have questions we'll probably plow through that time and use it for questions, but I just want to let you know that this is the intent today. We have to discuss a few witnesses.
    Mr. Baylis, are you okay to go? I was ragging the puck for a while.
    Thanks. I'm cocooning here.
    Go ahead for five minutes.
    Mr. Massingham, how many times did you go to the U.K. in 2015?
    I believe once.
    How many times did you go to the U.K. in 2016?
    I went twice...two or three times.
    How many times did Mr. Silvester go in 2015?
    I couldn't say.
    How many times did Mr. Silvester go in 2016?
    I couldn't say.
    When you went to the U.K. in 2015 or 2016, did you meet with Vote Leave?
    In 2016, during the referendum, I met with Vote Leave, but not before.
    Did you meet with BeLeave?
    Yes, on that same trip.
    Did you meet with Veterans for Britain?
    Yes, I did.
    Did you meet with the DUP, the Democratic Unionist Party?
    I believe so. Yes.
    Okay. For the questions that you couldn't answer or you weren't sure about, you don't have to answer them right now. You can go through your files. I'm sure you have all that information and you'll be able to get it to me. Is that correct?
    Do you mean for travel?
    Yes, the dates you went and who you met on each travel trip.
    In 2015 and 2016?
    Yes, in 2015 and 2016, all the trips you took to the U.K. and who you met on each trip, and all the trips that Mr. Silvester took and who he met, if he did take any. Can you get us all that information?
    Yes, to the best of my ability.
    What do you mean, “to the best of my ability”? Do you have it or do you not have it?
    I believe I'll have all my travel. Meetings should be scheduled, so that should be fine.
    It's a simple question: Do you have it, yes or no?
    Yes.
    Okay, so I'll expect it. Thanks.
    How many times did you meet with any one of those two groups together?
    I'm sorry...?
    How many times did you meet with any one of those four groups together?
    Never.
    How many times did you meet them in the same building but not together?
    I don't believe I ever did.
    Okay, so when you said to a previous colleague that you don't know where BeLeave's office is, but you did meet them, you had to physically meet them somewhere. Is that correct?

  (1140)  

    Yes, I met Darren somewhere. I don't recall where.
    You'll provide us with the exact place that you met each one of them, right?
    I can try.
    You can try. Do you have the information or not? I need to know. I'm sure that you do your annual tax returns and you said you follow all the rules, and Revenue Canada would expect that, so do you have the information, yes or no?
    I believe—
    We need to know this. Doing your Revenue Canada tax returns, when you take a business trip, you have to fill in certain stuff. Have you been doing that, yes or no?
    Yes.
    Then do you have the information, yes or no?
    Yes.
    Did you say yes, no, or you guess?
    Sorry, I said yes. I'll go back through our emails for travel dates—
    To be clear, you'll get us all the information for your travel to the U.K., for Mr. Silvester's travel to the U.K., who you met, when you met, and where you met.
    Yes, I will try to do that for you.
    Okay. Now where we seem to diverge here is on this law firm called Bindmans. Are you familiar with them?
    They've made claims that they have documents that show that you have been involved in sessions with both BeLeave and Vote Leave. Are they incorrect?
    Does that help jog your memory? By chance, regarding this data they have that shows that you were meeting together with BeLeave and Vote Leave at the same time, is it possible that you might have forgotten, that you've been sick?
    No. I'm sure I didn't meet with either of them at the same time.
    You never met with either of them at the same time.
    That's correct.
    Okay. They say they have evidence that shows that AIQ set up a Slack channel, a workspace where you allowed both campaigns to discuss their tactics for social media together. Did you do this, yes or no?
    They say they have evidence, so I'm just asking you.
     No.
    Okay.
    Now, if they have the evidence and then you're proven to be wrong, do you realize you're under oath? Are you aware of that?
    I do realize that, yes.
    Is it your position that the evidence Bindmans has is incorrect?
    I don't know what evidence they have. I just know that—
    You don't need to know what evidence they have, because you've made a blanket statement that it's not true, so I don't care what evidence.... Is it incorrect, yes or no?
    I only know what—
    No. It's a simple question. Is the information they have, whatever it may be, incorrect? Yes or no? You're under oath.
    I don't know.
    Mr. Frank Baylis: Yes, well, I'm going to ask you again.
    Mr. Zackary Massingham: Actually, I don't know what they have and—
    Chair, could I just get this one answer, please?
    Listen, you said that you never met with them together. That's a blanket statement. It doesn't matter if I have 10, 20, or 5,000 books' worth of evidence that it's incorrect. Is their evidence incorrect, yes or no?
    We did not set up joint Slack—
    Mr. Massingham, I'm going to make it very easy for you. If it starts with a “Y”, it means “yes”, or if it starts with an “N”, it means “no”. You've been a yes-or-no man this whole time, so I'm giving you a yes-or-no question again. Yes or no? You're under oath, Mr. Massingham.
    I'm sorry. I can't answer a question that you have—
    Yes, you can answer it. If someone asks me if I killed someone and says they have a ton of evidence, you know what I'm going to say? I'll say no. I don't care if they have a book's worth of evidence: no, I didn't do it.
     Now, I'm asking you a straight question. Is their evidence incorrect, yes or no?
    We didn't set up—
    I don't care. You don't need to—
    As you just said, we didn't set up any Slack.... We didn't formulate any communications between those groups. We did not meet with them together.
    Great. That's wonderful.
     They have evidence. Is it incorrect, yes or no? You haven't done anything, so.... You've made a blanket statement that you've never done any coordination, so is the evidence they have, whatever it may be, incorrect? Yes or no?
    Are you able to share with me what this evidence is?
    I'm not able to share anything. I wouldn't bother anyway. You don't read the reports, so I don't see any point in it.
    Anyhow, I'm asking you a straightforward question. You've made a blanket statement that you had no collusion, no work together, nothing. If that's the case, who cares what their evidence is? Just tell me: “Frank, it's wrong. It's no. No, it's wrong. Their information is wrong.” Yes or no? Answer that simple question, please.
    We did not set up—
    Mr. Frank Baylis: I didn't ask you that.
    Mr. Zackary Massingham: —any sort of communication.
    I didn't ask you that, and you're under oath. Now, we're going to get an answer out of you sooner or later.
    I'm sorry, Mr. Chair, but....
    Please, just answer me. You have made a very blanket statement that there was no collusion. These are your words: You were “in full compliance with...all legal and regulatory requirements in all jurisdictions where it operates”.
    Those are your words. I have a simple question. Is their evidence incorrect, yes or no?

  (1145)  

    I'm not going to comment on evidence I haven't seen. I can only tell you what we did. We did not set up any of these....
    Okay. We're going to—
    Chair, if you could make sure that all that other evidence I asked for is provided to us, I'd appreciate that.
    Yes, absolutely. The clerk will follow through with that.
    Next up for five minutes is Mr. Kent.
    Thanks, Chair.
    Mr. Massingham, coming back to the issue of the data that you received in the form you received it, were you aware, or have you been made aware, of Mr. Wylie's testimony before this committee on May 29 of this year?
    Only in parts.
    Well, just to be specific, basically, when you and Mr. Silvester appeared before a committee you denied—again, as you did this morning—receiving any raw data improperly harvested by Facebook.
    What Mr. Wylie said—again, this is to the committee in Britain—was this:
You can't build a targeting platform that doesn't have access to data, because then what are you targeting...? One of the things I provided...is an email from AIQ that specifically references searching the SCL databases on the Ripon project.
    Mr. Wylie concluded his answer by saying:
Frankly, I'm surprised and really disappointed that Jeff Silvester and Zack Massingham have decided to try to obfuscate or hide what happened. You'll have to ask them why it is that they are taking this line, but in my view
    —this is Mr. Wylie's view—
that's just not true. What value would they offer...if they did not use any of the data?
    Can you answer that today?
    We built a software tool to present their data. We were like software developers for them. Their clients access various audiences to create lists, and we helped SCL service their clients that they had, to help use the tool.
     When Mr. Silvester testified in the U.K., he described the Ripon tool as something that would help door-to-door canvassing. Mr. Wylie had again a very different version of Ripon, saying it was the software that directly utilized the algorithms from the Facebook data.
    How do you explain this contradiction between what Mr. Silvester testified and what Mr. Wylie testified?
    The tool we built for SCL was a plain and simple protocol CRM that contained SCL model data with scores. It would be a name and address, a phone number, sometimes an email, and then turn-up propensity or where you might rate along some issues—stuff like that. That's what was in the Ripon platform.
    Modelling didn't happen in Ripon. To the best of my understanding, all that happened within SCL's ecosystem that they built themselves, that took in all the data from various different vendors. What was put into Ripon was only the output of whatever they had done with that.
    Again, it was a simple-protocol CRM.
    Can you explain to the committee why you and Mr. Silvester are so isolated in the testimony that you provide to us, that you've provided to the British Office of the Information Commissioner, to the U.K. parliamentary study, and I assume to the B.C. Privacy Commissioner and the Canadian Privacy Commissioner? Why are you so isolated in the facts that you argue, at odds with all the other testimony and the findings of these other commissions that you've misrepresented what the company did?
    I think it's because we're telling you the truth. The simple matter of this is that we're software developers. We're not modellers. We help our clients place ads sometimes.
    The spin that has been put on these proceedings and reports and findings isn't what we like to go through at all. As you know, it's been quite difficult on me. We would like to help you find the truth, to explain how everything works and our piece of that.

  (1150)  

    Are you saying that you and Mr. Silvester are the fall guys, that the others have lied about what AIQ is and what it's done?
    I don't believe we're fall guys. I simply think there's a misunderstanding of what we have done and have built for SCL or others.
    Thank you, Mr. Kent.
    Next up is Ms. Fortier.

[Translation]

    Hello, Mr. Massingham.
    I want to point out that I usually ask my questions in French, except for today. Although our interpreters work very hard, I really want to make sure we understand each other today and do not want to waste any time.
    So I will ask you my questions in English.

[English]

     I would like to take this opportunity, like many of my colleagues here, to reiterate my frustration with your communication with the chair and the clerk of this committee. You've mentioned on numerous occasions your desire to co-operate fully with this committee and our study. I will tell you that my belief has been tested. When you did not appear before us last spring, I was very disappointed. I'm hoping today that we have a conversation that will give me answers.
    With that, I'm hopeful you will be able to add some clarity to specific questions.
    I'll start, if I may. How many email addresses do you possess? Did you have a BeLeave email address? Did you have a specific—
    I'm not done.
    Did you have any specific AggregateIQ, or Gmail, or any other domain emails that were specifically for this identified campaign?
    For BeLeave?
    Yes.
    No, I did not have a BeLeave email address.
    Did you have any other related email address to discuss this BeLeave campaign?
    Nothing.
    Mr. Zackary Massingham: No.
    Mrs. Mona Fortier: Thank you.
     I'd like to get an understanding of how you invoiced and created insertion orders for the BeLeave campaign and the lead-up to the Brexit vote in 2016, since you have provided us with a number of invoices and insertion orders that I have with me today.
    Can you tell me how the invoicing and insertion process worked with the BeLeave campaign, and specifically what directions you were given on how and where this was documented, and how the services were delivered?
     BeLeave let us know that they had received a donation and that they would like to engage us and our services. We had a discussion with Mr. Grimes about what he would like to accomplish with the money he had been given: the types of messaging he would like to run, various creatives, what his thoughts were on tone, style and audience, different channels he might like to use, and what he might want to do as a sort of get-out-and-vote effort on the day of the vote.
    Why would you have multiple insertion orders for the same time period? I'm talking specifically about June 14 to 23, 2016.
    As I said at the beginning of that answer, they were tied to the donations that he received, so as he received additional money, additional insertion orders were created that we might use as a sub-record of that transaction.
    Didn't it seem odd to you that a campaign wouldn't have an overall budget for digital advertising? Did it not raise any flags that they were wiring you larger and larger amounts without explanation of where that came from?

  (1155)  

    No. Fundraising in campaigns tends to go that way.
    Really?
    You provided this committee with copies of the invoices, as we have discussed. These were copies of the original invoices. Is that correct?
    I believe so.
    Your name is on them, so I'm hoping that you know about them.
    Yes, I do.
    Can you explain to this committee why there's an invoice with your signature on it dated April 30, 2018 for over $500,000 U.S., nearly two years after the Brexit vote and months after this and other similar committees were struck across the globe?
    It's a Word document, and the template we use auto-populates the date, so as they were submitted, I imagine they were opened to verify the place where it was and then submitted to you, and that would have re-updated that date.
    Were they not originals that we received?
    They were Word documents that were sent to you. We opened them to review that this is what we had sent the client, and then, as they were opened, they must have updated themselves.
    I'm still surprised to see that one is 2018 and the rest are 2016, so I don't believe we received the originals. I'd love to have an explanation.
    I think I just gave you one. If they were PDFs, I'm sure we wouldn't have this problem.
    Thank you.
    I'm done.
     What we're going to do is give three minutes to Mr. Angus. He is going to have the last question of this round. We'll go through another round until our 15-minute timeline.
    Go ahead, Mr. Angus, for three minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Massingham.
    The last time you were here, we spent a lot of time trying to clarify why you were listed as the head of SCL Canada, trying to track down why you had a phone for SCL Canada. You explained to us that AIQ is an independent Canadian entity. Is that correct?
    That's correct.
    And you're the CEO of AggregateIQ. Is that correct?
    Mr. Zackary Massingham: That's correct.
    Mr. Charlie Angus: Who else is involved in the corporate structure of AggregateIQ?
    As we've said, it's me and Jeff Silvester.
    Is there anyone else involved?
    Yes.
    And who would they be?
    I'd be happy to submit our corporate structure to you following these proceedings.
    Are there other people involved in the corporate structure of AggregateIQ?
    Yes, there are director shareholders, and I'd be happy to get you that document [Technical difficulty—Editor].
    So there are shareholders or key people on the corporate board.
    Do you have a corporate structure?
    Yes.
    Who is Matt Watson?
    I'm sorry?
    Who is Matt Watson?
    He was just a mentor of mine.
    Just a mentor...? Is he involved in AggregateIQ?
    Who's Chris Shannon?
    He's a colleague. He's been a friend for a long time.
     Okay. Is he involved in the corporate structure of AggregateIQ?
    Yes, he is.
    What is Chris Shannon's role with AggregateIQ?
    He is a contractor resource for development.
    Was he involved in any way in the Brexit issues?
    Yes.
    Okay. We've been led to believe that it was just you and Jeff. We have Chris Shannon as well.
    We have Matt Watson, who is a mentor. You're saying he's not involved in the corporate structure of AggregateIQ.
    That's correct.
    Okay. Would you have a problem giving us the corporate structure of AggregateIQ so that we can verify these?
    As I said, I'll provide that to you.
    Great.
    What role did Chris Shannon play in the Brexit campaign with BeLeave or Vote Leave?
    He was a developer, and only for Vote Leave. He had no part in BeLeave.
    I'm sorry, only for what?
    Vote Leave.
    Okay.
    He had no part in BeLeave.
    Do you meet with your shareholders?
    We meet once a year.
    Okay. How many shareholders do you have?
    We have three.
    Who are those shareholders?
    Me, Jeff Silvester and Mr. Shannon.
    Okay. Do you know if Mr. Shannon has read the reports from the U.K. Information Commissioner and the Electoral Commission?

  (1200)  

    I couldn't say.
    Okay, but as CEO....
    Before we go, I just want to.... I'm very confused about this issue that in six days a million dollars Canadian went through the BeLeave campaign. The commission is clear. It said that BeLeave did not go on to run any ads, and you said you were running ads. They said that this was a money-laundering vehicle to circumvent the law.
    If you were running ads, were you running Vote Leave's ads with the money from BeLeave?
    All ad budgets were kept separate. All ad accounts were kept separate. Their money was their own.
    Okay, thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Angus.
    We're going to go to a new round here, starting with Ms. Vandenbeld.
    I'm very concerned about the fact that you make certain statements in your testimony and then, when evidence is provided that those statements are not correct, you alter those statements but you're still not particularly forthcoming on this.
    For example, when I asked Mr. Silvester about the psychosocial profiles that were used on whom to target the ads to, and whether AIQ still had any of those data or scores in their databases, he said, “We're not a data company, so we have no interest in any of that.”
    Now, the U.K. Information Commissioner's office has actually issued an enforcement notice asking you to stop handling the data of U.K. citizens, so clearly we know that you are handling data. Today you said that there was data from SCL, but you have absolutely no idea what the source of that data is.
    Are you or were you in possession of large amounts of data that include some form of information, rankings or other information, that was derived from the Facebook breaches?
    To say that they were derived from Facebook breaches, I could not be certain.
    I know that SCL worked with a number of data vendors and did its own modelling to create a dataset that would be used within the Ripon platform itself.
    On the matter of ICO's unfortunate notice, the only data that was there was something akin to a thousand email addresses—no scores, nothing else like that. It might be a name and the email address, and that was it. Just for your understanding of that, none of that had anything to do with any referendum client.
    I want to go back to what your business model is, because if all you're doing is taking email addresses, putting it on Facebook and targeting ads, you're basically taking a million dollars and you're being paid just to put ads on Facebook, which is something any intern could probably do.
    Now, today, it's been proven and the U.K. says that there were no ads placed for BeLeave. I heard you say earlier, and correct me if I'm wrong, that you instructed Facebook to return the money.
    That was going back to a previous point in time where we were with SCL during the U.S. mid-terms. SCL had provided an advertising budget for their clients. The ad budget wasn't able to be spent during the campaign period, and SCL had requested that we send the money back.
    So what we had asked was that Facebook, since we sent the money back to SCL—
     We're specifically talking about BeLeave. According to the Electoral Commission in the U.K., BeLeave never actually placed ads, and yet you're saying you used that million dollars to place ads for BeLeave. That's not what you were talking about when you said that you asked Facebook to return the money. You're still saying that you placed ads.
    Mr. Zackary Massingham: That's not what I'm talking about.
    Ms. Anita Vandenbeld: Okay. We have another contradiction there with other evidence, which seems to be a pattern here.
    The report I have seen from Facebook says that BeLeave and BeLeave's ad account did place ads, which is why I'm very confused as to how these other regulatory bodies can interpret that in any other way.
    Okay.
    You said that you have no evidence of coordination between Vote Leave and BeLeave. Yet there are significant amounts of evidence that we have access to here in the committee that shows, in fact, that you did. You had meetings. You were in strategy sessions. There was the Slack channel and Google Drive. When you were answering the question from my colleague, you said you had no idea about evidence.
    I'm going to ask you very simply. Are you aware of any money or any data that moved between Vote Leave and BeLeave?

  (1205)  

    No, other than the donation that Vote Leave made to BeLeave.
    So you're not aware, nor did you participate in coordinating any data moving between those two.
    There was no data moved between those two organizations, as far as I saw.
    I'm going to share my time with Mr. Saini.
    Mr. Massingham, I'm going to ask some very simple questions. It's nothing to do with any of the things we're discussing. I want to get an idea of your role.
    You and Mr. Silvester started this company. Is that true?
    That's correct.
    You are the only two principals of this company.
    That's correct.
    What are Mr. Silvester's qualifications? Does he have any post-secondary education?
    I believe so, yes.
    What did he study?
    He studied engineering.
    What are your qualifications? What's your post-secondary education?
    It's in business.
    That would have included courses in contracts, finance, accounting, marketing, the general gamut of business.
    That's correct.
    You have a business background, and Mr. Silvester has a computer engineering background, so you decide to open this company.
    Yes.
    What is Mr. Silvester's title in this company?
    He is the chief operating officer.
    What is your title in this company?
    I am the chief executive officer.
    When you receive a contract from a client, whether you're working directly or indirectly with a client, who would analyze that contract?
    Tell me if I'm wrong. You would be requested to do some work. It would probably involve engineering or computer programming, or whatever, so that would go to Mr. Silvester. He would analyze it and tell you, “Look, Zack, I think we can do this work.” You would get the scope of work involved, and you would respond. You would respond with, “Yes, we can do it. This is our price.”
    Is that correct?
    For the most part, it is, yes.
    What was your role, then? When you say “for the most part”, I want to know what your role in the company was.
    On the logistics side, it would be looking at tools, what things ought to cost, what the comparables are, doing the market research, understanding the needs of the particular clients, and then the needs of the particular users, to promote using the product or the service thereafter, and—
    So you were the person who would be dealing directly with the client.
    On the sales side, I would, yes.
    When you're asked to do some work and you have the scope of work, do you analyze what the value of that work is, or what the purpose of that work is, and how that work would be used, or is it simply that whatever a client asks you to do, you just fulfill that request, and here is your price?
     I asked you earlier in my questioning if you were aware of work being done in Ukraine. Now, Mr. Silvester has said that you have done work in Trinidad, and you have done work in Nigeria. When you get a contract to do work, whether directly or indirectly, do you analyze the contract to see where that work is going to happen, or is that something you don't think about?
    We absolutely do.
    When I asked you whether you are doing work in Ukraine, you said no. You have no employees in Ukraine doing any work. Is that true?
     That's true.
    So you're doing work indirectly—
    Mr. Saini, you're a minute over, so I have to stop you. Those are great questions, though.
    Mr. Gourde, you have seven minutes.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Mr. Massingham, I want to congratulate you since your company does offer its services internationally. Canada is a small country, but you have still developed a tool that enables your company to offer services to a larger country, Great Britain, and perhaps elsewhere as well. You can tell us that.
    Your business is a model of success in terms of marketing. Surely there are companies in Great Britain that could have offered the same services as yours. How were you able to break into the market in Great Britain and offer your services there?
    You must have stood out in order to win those contracts. So you must have offered something extra to your clients, some added value.

  (1210)  

[English]

    I think we have been extraordinarily lucky in terms of the opportunities we've had. We've worked with some really great people who have gone from campaign to campaign. It's really through word of mouth that we get our introductions. The campaigning community is a very small community, as you all know. We have put together a very good team that delivers very good work and results for our clients.
    Aside from word of mouth, we don't really do any other advertising. Particularly in the U.K., I would point out that we don't have any clients in the U.K. right now.

[Translation]

    So it was word of mouth and contacts.
    Among those contacts, was there anyone from the U.K. who might had work terms in Canada, during Canadian elections, and perhaps their recommendations helped you break into that market?

[English]

    I don't believe so.

[Translation]

    You just said the exact opposite, that it was through contacts and word of mouth. Those people had to know you to know that your services had some added value that they must have needed.
    You said earlier that it was programs and that it was relatively simple: names, addresses, telephone numbers and “yes” or “no” answers to questions such as “are you in favour or opposed”.
    That currently exists in all democratic countries at election time.
    In the services you offer, however, there was something extra that they needed. That “extra” was recommended or you went to see them directly. What was the “extra”?

[English]

    It's simply the hard work. The reason I said no was that I could not think of an individual we had worked with in Canada. Had you asked about someone we had worked with in America, I would have said yes, because the number of people and the scope of what we have helped with there are much different from what we have worked on here in Canada.

[Translation]

    Are U.S. software tools more advanced than those elsewhere in the world?
    Did you have access to or did you develop certain tools with the Americans, which the Canadian market would not have allowed you to do since there is less money available for development and for contracts?

[English]

    Yes, and just to extend that a bit further, it's simply a matter of scale. You're exposed to a much larger audience in America, and you're able to see things and work on things much faster than what campaign practices might be here in Canada, in the U.K. or elsewhere around the world. Certainly in America, there's much more opportunity to expose that scale, which allows us to work with other people who can see how we work and how we help them, and it's those people who oftentimes introduce us to other campaigns.

[Translation]

    Are the tools that your company developed replicas of tools available in the United States, or did you have contracts that enabled you to develop certain tools that are more advanced than what was already available in the United States?

[English]

     No, I don't believe so.
     As solution providers to campaigns, we look at all sorts of tools. If what we offer perhaps isn't the best, we will certainly help our clients use something else, because it's about them winning and being able to use the tool, the strategy, the canvassing application with their volunteers and with their staff in the best way possible so that they are able to reach as many people as possible.

  (1215)  

[Translation]

    I have one more question for you. I have a minute left.
    As to that famous one million dollar contract, that can be a lot of money or not much, depending on the services offered.
    What services did you offer with that million dollars, over two or three days, to the side of the campaign that absolutely wanted to win and was willing to do anything to get there?
    Did those people overpay for the services you provided them?

[English]

    No, I don't believe so.
    The vast majority of that million dollars went into buying tens of millions of online ads for BeLeave.

[Translation]

    Thank you.

[English]

    Thank you, Mr. Gourde.
    Mr. Angus is up next, for seven minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Massingham.
    Thanks for clarifying the corporate structure and the role of Chris Shannon, who you say is your third partner. You say Matt Watson is not part of the corporate structure of AggregateIQ. Is that correct?
    That's correct.
    Okay. You said he was a mentor to you.
    Yes.
    Was he involved in the establishment of AggregateIQ?
    No. Jeff and I incorporated AggregateIQ.
    So Matt doesn't have any connection.
    No, he doesn't, other than being a mentor to me.
    Who is Hunter Watson?
    He is Matthew's son.
    So Matt's son is Hunter Watson.
    That's correct.
    Is Hunter Watson involved in AggregateIQ?
    No. He was a co-op employee of ours.
    He was a co-op employee. Does he have access to the AIQ database?
    [Technical difficulty—Editor]
    Poof.
    Voices: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Charlie Angus: Damn you, Putin.
    We're going to suspend for one minute until we get the feed back on.
    If you need to take a little break, we'll even give you a couple of minutes.

    


    

  (1220)  

     We'll call the meeting back to order.
    Mr. Angus, you've only used up a minute of your time, so proceed.
    Thank you.
    Welcome back, Mr. Massingham. We were deeply worried we had lost you.
    Thank you.
    We were asking about Hunter Watson, who is in the AggregateIQ database. Is that correct?
    How do you mean “database”?
    Well, one of the people with access to your AggregateIQ database is Hunter Watson. Is that not correct?
    Do you mean GitLab?
    I'm not a technical guy.
    Mr. Zackary Massingham: Neither am I.
    Mr. Charlie Angus: My job is getting Mrs. Brady's hydro turned back on in the morning when she's cut off.
    I just want to know about your company's server—the one that was open and had all the issues that led to this Facebook issue. Hunter Watson has access rights to that. Is that correct?

  (1225)  

    Presumably, yes. He was a co-op employee of ours.
    Okay.
    Was Matt Watson ever a shareholder?
    Yes.
    Okay, so he was a shareholder.
    Yes, but not now.
    When did he stop being a shareholder?
    I don't have the exact date, but I'm sure that would be reflected in the document that I sent you.
    Okay, but there were only four of you. There was you, Chris Shannon, Jeff Silvester and Matt Watson. One of the four left. So when did he leave?
    I'm not sure of the exact date, but I'm sure that will be in the document we provided.
    Just as an aside, are you alone in the room? Are you getting coaching? Are you with somebody?
    Yes, my lawyer is here.
    Okay.
    Is Jeff Silvester there?
    Yes, he is.
    Okay, good.
    Is Mr. Shannon there?
    No, he's not.
    Okay, good.
    I'm interested. In July 2017, you responded to a journalist's request for information about the contract between Vote Leave and your company, AggregateIQ. You requested an exemption because you had “bespoke terms” with Vote Leave and you were worried that it might differ from other clients and impact commercial arrangements with other clients. What were the bespoke terms with Vote Leave?
    I'm sorry. Can you help me out a bit there? I'm just kind of—
    Yes.
    In July 2017, there was a journalist's request for the contract. Under the British freedom of information laws, you were looking to get an exemption because you were afraid that the contract would undermine your competitive bidding, because where the pricing reflects bespoke terms, it may differ from those offered to other clients and could impact commercial arrangements with other clients. Did you have those bespoke terms with Vote Leave?
    Pricing depends on the scope of work that we undertake for each of our clients.
    If you had specific terms that were different, then it could affect your overall commercial viability. So what were the bespoke terms of Vote Leave?
    Simply what's been invoiced. There's nothing special about that. It's simply the number.
    Okay. In that same email exchange, you thanked Dominic Cummings of Vote Leave for his “speedy help”. What was the speedy help that he gave you in response to this request for the contract?
    I'm not sure.
    Well, he gave you speedy help. You were looking for help. It was about a journalist's freedom of information request regarding that contract. What speedy help did Dominic Cummings give you? Did he give you the language on the bespoke terms response?
    No, I don't believe so, and I also don't recall what I might have asked him.
    Okay. I don't want to keep going down rabbit holes. We have other things to speak about.
    If our committee asks for the contract between Vote Leave and BeLeave, would you be willing to hand that over to us?
    Sorry, the contract between Vote Leave and BeLeave?
    Your contract with Vote Leave and your contract with BeLeave—would you be willing to turn those contracts over to our committee?
    Yes, I believe we can give you everything that we have there.
    Good.
    The question here is that we have two independent reports that have found a breach of a British electoral law, a serious breach that undermined the Brexit vote, which is causing ongoing economic and social upheaval in the United Kingdom. We see there was coordination between those two campaigns. That's been proven. We have the Slack channel between BeLeave and Vote Leave. We have the Google Drive between the two campaigns. You're involved in both of those. We have a transfer of money between the two campaigns. You're involved in that. There were meetings between the two campaigns that you were involved in. Mark Gettleson, one of the key Vote Leave people, is the guy who brought you in to BeLeave.
    Yet you say you don't know how there could be any coordination that broke the law. This has put your company in a legally vulnerable position.
    For all that money, don't you think you should have done some due diligence?
    Just to correct you, Mark Gettleson introduced us to Vote Leave, and that was the end of his involvement.
    That was the end of his involvement. Even if we concede that one, all the others they found, point after point, the two.... Where the illegal coordination was done, it keeps coming back to AggregateIQ. You're saying that you had no knowledge of that.
    Christopher Wylie said that AggregateIQ “inherited...a company culture of total disregard for the law.” We had Jeff Silvester being quoted through Chris Wylie that there was no signing, that what you did was known to be illegal, and yet you're telling us that you are either the most naive people who ever walked the planet, who walked out with all that money in the midst of an illegal campaign, or you're not telling us the truth.
    Just to end this, you're protected here, Mr. Massingham. Whatever you tell us cannot be used in court against you.
    You put your shareholders and your company in a legally vulnerable position. If you had to do it all over again.... What are you going to tell us?

  (1230)  

    The advice that the Electoral Commission gave Vote Leave at the time was that the donation was allowed. They have since ruled that it is not. I know that money's still—
    They didn't say it wasn't allowed. They said that the two were coordinating, that it was illegal activity between the two, and you are the conduit between the two. That's what they ruled.
    I'm sorry, I....
    They didn't change their minds. They said that what was illegal was the coordinating, and you are the connecting link.
     Certainly we did not see any evidence of coordination between those two organizations.
    Thank you, Mr. Angus. I gave you a bit more time, just because of the break.
    I just have a question for you, Mr. Massingham. Who's in the room with you currently?
     Michelle, our lawyer, and Jeff Silvester.
    Okay. Is that all for who's in the room with you?
    Yes, that's all.
    The room that you're in currently is in what building? Where are you currently?
    In Vancouver, at our lawyer's office.
    Okay. Thank you.
    Next up is Mr. Picard, for seven minutes.
    Thank you. My name is Mike.
    Let's forget about third parties' comments and impressions, and focus on what you do best, software development. You explained to us that the product you worked on is comparable to a CRM-type product. There are a number of those products on the market. Are those actual available products like a SAP type of tool, where you tailor all the functionalities to the requirements of the client, or are these CRM-type products on the market too restricted and therefore unable to meet the requirements of your client, justifying the fact that you had to develop your own software?
    What we've seen, from working with organizations, is that the scope of work sometimes changes quite quickly based on new tools they want to use, and having a more open system that's able to integrate with other products, tools or services actually has its advantages.
    What are the biggest changes you can give me as examples? At the end of the day, in marketing you need to know possibly—without any specific importance or priority—names, addresses, where you live, the books you read and stuff like that. Are there significant elements that cannot be provided by actual available tools on the market?
    I'm sorry. Can you clarify that?
    Well, for example.... Okay, I'll ask the question differently. Why didn't you use a CRM-type product already available on the market and just fine-tune it for the requirements of your client?
    We have done that in the past. Certainly we did that in Trinidad and Tobago. We used a product for them based on CiviCRM, which is an open-source piece of software.
    We have also suggested that clients use NationBuilder because it's a fantastic piece of software that volunteers can use quite readily. The reporting of NationBuilder leaves a lot to be desired, which is why some clients want other outside reporting functionality.
    Then there are still some campaigns that operate with paper. You see the gamut based on the volunteers and the staff that are available. Where we come in is in helping those campaigns and their staff make solid technology decisions to help match the tools with their engagement strategies and available resources.

  (1235)  

     Was your involvement to fine-tune something already available on the market, or did you start from scratch, based on known codes, to develop your own software that can be similar to what exists, with your own touch?
    Certainly in some of the products that we've developed for ourselves, yes, we've taken the experience of the learning that we've seen from using other commercially available products and—
    How do you define the personal touch you have? Who decides what kind of personal touch you add to the software when you build such a software? You don't go by the flavour of the month. You need to add what is in fact required by the client or at least make sure that what you add to the software or what you develop yourself will meet exactly the purpose or the requirement of your client.
    I think our internal development process really starts from recognizing what common questions our clients are asking.
    In order to do so, you have to understand your clients' business.
    That's correct.
    So, by understanding the client's business you understand the use of the resulting product you're going to supply. You understand what they're going to do with that.
    And what their users are experiencing while they're using it.
    Can you summarize for me what kind of agreement or clause you have in your contract to protect yourself—not the others, just yourself—against malpractice and misuse of your own product?
    Which product? Any product?
    Yes. You give the tool to someone. If you sell me a hammer and I go on the street and start hitting people, you won't like being identified with the hammer you sold me.
    That's fair.
    The tools we have produced and licensed have been, again, as I've said, rather generic. The implementation of that, how they work with particular clients, is what adds the value to that. The overall solution is what adds value. To have a clause in a contract for a generic tool, such as a hammer, I can't say that one exists in our documents.
    In Brexit, for Vote Leave or other groups, would you categorize the tool you sold them as a very generic tool?
    We didn't provide them with any tools. We provided advertising services to Vote Leave, and we helped them with some small development work on their own tool, which they had been developing long before we got there.
    So it's fair to say that, by developing the tool for the specific requirement of your client, you accompany your client along the way, understanding what they want and where they're going.
    Yes, I think there's learning on both sides there. It goes from what they think they want, and then when the rubber hits the road, the reality of it is that users still have to be able to use it. The volunteers still need to be able to enter their pledges and such.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Picard.
    Next up is Mr. Kent, for five minutes.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Massingham, I'd like to come back to the report of the U.K. parliamentary investigation and the piece of information that sort of widens our discussion here. The committee report says:
[W]e have also found evidence that AIQ used tools that could scrape user profile data from LinkedIn. The App acts similarly to online human behaviour, searching LinkedIn user profiles, scraping their contacts, and all accompanying information such as users' place of work, location and job title.
    Is that true?

  (1240)  

    Could you go back to the start of that question?
     Well, the British parliamentary committee says that they have evidence—and I guess we may hear more about this as their investigation continues and they get to their final report sometime this fall—“that AIQ used tools that could scrape user profile data from LinkedIn.” Then it goes on to say that the app acted “similarly to online human behaviour, searching LinkedIn user profiles” and scraping their contacts, places of work, and other identities.
    Did you develop that app?
     I don't believe so, but Jeff would probably be the best person to speak to about what is in our AIQ repository.
    I know that within our AIQ repository there were a number of items that were either in progress or open source tools that were developed, which we were looking at to experiment with, or things of that nature. I couldn't speak to the particular functionality of what it is that you're—
    But your company is working on the development of data harvesting from social media.
    That would seem to be what the U.K. parliamentary committee has concluded.
    I think that's a mischaracterization of what might be there.
    Okay, thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Kent.
    Next up is our last questioner of the day, Mr. Erskine-Smith.
    I'm not going to ask you what you read this time.
    Let's take the Vote Leave campaign. When you receive information, what format do you receive that information in? You mentioned that it's not raw information from Facebook, as it were.
    Generally, or...?
    In that particular instance.
    In Vote Leave? For the purposes of advertising?
    Isn't that what you do?
    Yes. I'm just trying to answer the question as best as I can.
    In the instances that they might have transferred supporter information, it would have come in potentially in an Excel sheet, but that would only be for a very small number of people.
    When they asked us to help with the development of their database tool, I think the transfer was done through some other mechanism. I'm not sure there was even a transfer. It might have just been allowing my guys access to servers. But I think Jeff would be able to speak to that.
    Accessing servers doesn't tell me you have a format of the information at all. That's a brutal answer.
    Okay. Do you do anything....? In the Vote Leave case, did you ask if the data that was shared with you for the purposes of your work, for your advertising, was lawfully obtained?
    The data that we saw—
    Okay, no, no. Did you ask Vote Leave officials if the information was lawfully obtained?
    Jeff did, yes.
    Jeff did. Okay.
    Is that a standard thing, that in every instance you'll ask if the information was lawfully obtained and if they have the right to use it?
    I'm going to pass my time to Mr. Baylis.
    Mr. Massingham, you were talking to Mr. Angus. You said that you did in fact do advertising for Vote Leave and that the million dollars was spent.
    What I'd like you to do is provide us with exact details of how much money was spent by you. How much money came to you from Vote Leave? How much did you spend on advertising, and how much was your profit? Do you have that information?

  (1245)  

    I should be able to put that together for you.
    Okay.
    I'd also like to know, for your fiscal years 2015 and 2016, what your overall income was and what your overall profitability was, and linked back as a percentage of this money that you made for Vote Leave and BeLeave as well.
     We'll take that under advisement, yes.
    Pardon me?
    Yes.
    Okay, thank you.
    Did you ever set up a chat room with Slack as part of your work with either Vote Leave or BeLeave?
    With Vote Leave, yes.
    Okay.
    Did you set up a Facebook chat room, exchange room, as well?
    Did you set up a Google Drive to share data?
    There was no—
    I don't believe so.
    Pardon me?
    I don't believe so.
    But you did set up a Slack chat room. Is that right?
    In the Slack instance, yes. But—
    Was that used by Vote Leave?
    Just the Vote Leave ad staff, like the messaging staff.
    Did BeLeave use it as well?
    I'm just going to make sure I understood this.
    BeLeave never used the chat room that you set up.
    BeLeave set up their own instance in Slack, and we provided the screen shots of that communication to you.
    Was there any Slack chat room that Vote Leave and BeLeave both used?
    Not that I'm aware of.
    Were you involved in a chat with BeLeave in one, and Vote Leave in a separate one?
    Those chats are separate, yes.
    Okay.
    I have one last question. In one of your conversations with BeLeave, in one of your chat rooms, you talked about “hard stuff” and “soft stuff”, relating to types of ads. What did you mean by “hard stuff”?
    I think that's more aggressive messaging—
    Is that tailored more to older voters or to younger voters?
    At the time, it could've been tailored to anyone. They were simply doing awareness, but—
    And you said “soft stuff” is more what?
    Sorry?
    Soft stuff, for their audience, seemed to be better receptive—
    —for the BeLeave audience.
    For the BeLeave audience, yes.
    When you talked to the BeLeave audience and you said, look, we'll leave the hard stuff to Vote Leave, were you not coordinating with them?
    I believe where that chat is being referenced was in and around a rather tragic accident or situation in the U.K. The advice at the time was to simply continue with the messaging style they had and not be too aggressive.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Baylis.
    Mr. Massingham, I have just a couple of questions.
    At any point in your testimony today, were you coached by Mr. Silvester?
    At any point in your testimony today, were you advised by Mr. Silvester?
    Okay, I have one last question for you. We'll review the information that you submit to us. I'm going to give you a deadline of Monday at 5 o'clock, Pacific Standard Time, to provide what you've said you're going to provide to us as a committee.
    Is that sufficient time to get all of that together?
    I believe so.
    It's approximately three days.
    What you submit to me, as chair, and to us as a committee, will be a deciding factor in whether we have you or Mr. Silvester back or not. I advise you to stick to that timeline as much as you can.
    Again, I'd like to thank you for testifying today before our ethics committee.
    Thank you.
    Thank you very much.
    We're just going to suspend until we can clear the room to go in camera to talk committee business.
    [Proceedings continue in camera]
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