Published: Mon, March 26, 2018
Tech | By Tabitha Holland

United Kingdom information watchdog assessing evidence from raid on Cambridge Analytica offices

According to media reports, Facebook learned of the fact that Cambridge Analytica had access to the personal information of the social network's users, after which it demanded that the data analysis firm delete the acquired information.

About 20 officials, wearing black jackets with "ICO Enforcement" on them, arrived at the firm's central London offices on Friday evening soon after a High Court judge granted a search warrant sought by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

ICO commissioner Elizabeth Denham has confirmed previously that complaints related to Cambridge Analytica's use of Facebook data for political ad targeting form part of that larger, ongoing investigation. "We will now need to assess and consider the evidence before deciding the next steps and coming to any conclusions".

The data "allowed the company to exploit the private social media activity of a huge swath of the American electorate, developing techniques that underpinned its work on President (Donald) Trump's campaign in 2016", the Times reported.

Fresh allegations also emerged Friday night about the firm's involvement in the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign. USA lawmakers on Friday asked Mr. Zuckerberg to come to Congress to explain to explain how the data got into Cambridge Analytica's hands, adding to pressure on the firm.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also been requested by lawmakers in the U.S. and testify before investigative committees regarding Facebook's role in the data breach. "In my opinion, I felt like we should say, 'this is exactly what we did'".

The data watchdog's investigation includes the acquisition and use of Facebook data by CA, its parent company SCL and academic Dr Aleksandr Kogan, who developed the app used to gather data.

In an online statement published yesterday, the acting CEO of CA, Alexander Taylor, apologized for Facebook "data and derivatives" having been obtained without consent "from most respondents". Please can I be absolutely clear: "we did not use any GSR data in the work we did in the 2016 United States presidential election", he further claims.

"Should anything emerge from this review, or from our request to Facebook, the University will take any action necessary in accordance with our policies and procedures", it said in a statement.

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