I have an hypothesis.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) won’t find any retained data at Cambridge Analytica (CA) gleaned from Facebook user’s. They might even find proof it was deleted in a timely manner.
So, would that mean CA did not provide an assist to the Trump campaign? No.
Because the analysis of all that data would have been used to provide knowledge and insight into which buttons to push in the minds of voters, and crucially, in which States this would be most effective.
At that point you can delete all the source Facebook data.
The knowledge and insight would have powered a broad spectrum campaign using good old fashioned media channels and social media. At this point, it is not micro-targeting, but throwing mud knowing it will stick where it matters.
Maybe the focus on micro-targeting is a smokescreen, because if the ICO don’t find retained data, then CA can say “see, we are innocent of all charges of interference”, when in fact the truth could be quite the opposite.
It is important the ICO, Select Committees in the UK Parliament and, when they get their act together, committees on Capitol Hill, ask the right questions, and do not succumb to smokescreens.
But then, that is only an hypothesis.
What do I know?
(c) Richard W. Erskine, 2018