UKIP will face a tribunal over its use of social media targeting and analytics in the lead up to the EU referendum, after refusing to cooperate with an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The ICO announced a formal investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes six months ago to provide insight into how personal information is used in political campaigns.

In an update to this investigation, Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner, said the inquiry was a “complex and far reaching investigation, involving over 30 organisations including political parties and campaigns, data companies and social media platforms. Among those organisations is AggregateIQ, a Canadian-based company, used by a number of the campaigns.”

The commissioner explained that many organisations and companies fully cooperated with the investigation, but others are “making it difficult”. UKIP have refused to comply and appealed the ICO’s information notices to the Information Rights Tribunal.

In response to the commissioner’s comments a UKIP spokesperson told the Guardian that the party was prepared to cooperate with the ICO, but not against a threat of criminal sanctions, which is what they are appealing.

The ICO’s investigation is separate to the Electoral Commission’s investigation into Vote Leave’s campaign spending in relation to the £625,000 paid to university student Darren Grimes and the £100,000 paid to Veterans for Britain in the days before the vote.


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