Government sends two notices to Cambridge Analytica over data breach

WION Web Team London, UK Apr 25, 2018, 03.43 PM(IST)

A laptop showing the Facebook logo is held alongside a Cambridge Analytica sign at the entrance to the building housing the offices of Cambridge Analytica. Photograph:( AFP )

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On Tuesday, Aleksandr Kogan, a researcher of the firm was grilled by UK parliamentary committee.

Internet data firm Cambridge Analytica (CA) said today that it will investigate all its activities around the world, including in India.

"All the national issues and national associations are part and parcel of the independent investigation. Rest assured, India, Kenya, Nigeria, all the other countries that SCL has been working in historically, will be investigated and reported on as part of the independent investigation," a spokesman of the firm said.

Meanwhile, the Indian government has sent two notices to Cambridge Analytica and has sought reply by May 10th. 

The government had sent a notice to Facebook on April 5th, 2018 and informed the social networking site that data of estimated 5.62, 455 Indians may have been used in an unauthorised manner by CA through 335 installations of the App developed by GSR and installed by Indians.

On Tuesday, Aleksandr Kogan, a researcher of the firm was grilled by UK parliamentary committee. Kogan said what he was doing was "useless" work since it was not connected to swaying voters during elections.

"Quite frankly, if the goal is micro-targeting using Facebook ads, (the project) makes no sense. It's not what you would do," he told a parliamentary committee.

Last month, Christopher Wylie, a whistleblower, had said the company had worked "extensively" in India and named the Congress as one of its clients. He named other parties as well namely the Janta Dal (United) as a client during the 2010 Bihar elections. 

Wylie said Cambridge Analytica had a database on "over 600 districts and 7 lakh villages, which is constantly being updated". 

He revealed that CA's reach in India reportedly included a head office in Ghaziabad, with nine regional offices in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Cuttack, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Patna and Pune.

On the other hand, Kogan quite unexpectedly added that it was "unlikely Cambridge Analytica had used the data in the Trump campaign," although he added that CEO Alexander Nix had lied to  the British lawmakers about the US election campaign.

Both Facebook and  Cambridge Analytica have blamed Kogan for alleged data misuse, Kogan says he was made a scapegoat.

Kogan accussed  Nix of "total fabrication" for denying links between Cambridge Analytica and Global Science Research (GSR) which developed a Facebook app to collect data about people.

Asked if Nix had lied, Kogan answered: "Absolutely."

"This has been a very painful experience, because when I entered into all of this, Facebook was a close ally," Kogan said.

"I was thinking this would be helpful to my academic career and my relationship with Facebook. It has very clearly done the complete opposite," he told the UK lawmakers.