(Mar 26): As the upstart voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica prepared to wade into the 2014 American midterm elections, it had a problem. The firm had secured a US$15 million investment from Robert Mercer, the wealthy Republican donor, and wooed his political adviser, Stephen K Bannon, with the promise of tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behaviour. But it did not have the data to make its new products work.

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