Published: Fri, May 04, 2018
Tech | By Tabitha Holland

Cambridge Analytica and British Parent Shut Down After Facebook Scandal

Cambridge Analytica and British Parent Shut Down After Facebook Scandal

The UK based data analytics and political consulting firm has been under fire in various countries for allegedly harvesting data from nearly 87 million Facebook users and leveraging them for political campaigns.

In 2014, Cambridge Analytica gained access to the Facebook data of tens of millions of people using a technique widely used during that era to collect information on Facebook users. Facebook was asked to list out the security architecture proposed to be created "so that data concerning Indians are not pilfered or manipulated again for extraneous purposes including to influence the elections". Facebook has over 20 crore users in India.

Cambridge Analytica said it has filed papers to begin insolvency proceedings in the United Kingdom and will seek bankruptcy protection in a federal court in NY.

Meanwhile, British authorities today said that their investigation into the data breach scandal involving Cambridge Analytica will not be impacted with the shutdown of the political consulting firm.

Cambridge Analytica has denied wrongdoing, blaming the media for their closure.

Damian Collins, chairman of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, said Cambridge Analytica and its parent company SCL Group "cannot be allowed to delete their data history by closing".

Cambridge Analytica also hired an outside lawyer to investigate the allegations. Additionally, parallel bankruptcy proceedings will soon be commenced on behalf of Cambridge Analytica and certain of the Company's U.S. affiliates in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of NY. The report by TechCrunch questioned whether this was truly the end for Cambridge Analytica, or whether the firm is simply waiting for the media to lose interest and focus elsewhere. "They are party to very serious investigations and those investigations can not be impeded by the closure of these companies", said MP Damian Collins.

The app collected data on 87 million Facebook users, even those who did not download the app themselves. Whichever way you look at it, the sheer amount of data that could have been sourced surpasses the level of current known mass-surveillance techniques used by governments.

British corporate records show that Nix is also director of a company called Emerdata Ltd. that was incorporated in August 2017. Initial funding for Cambridge Analytica came from Republican financier Robert Mercer, who invested at least $10 million in the company as it sought to help exclusively GOP candidates across a range of USA congressional and state legislative elections beginning in 2014. Facebook has since tightened its privacy restrictions. These individuals include Cambridge Analytica's former acting CEO Alexander Tayler (pictured), who became a director of Emerdata in March, and Julian Wheatland, who is an Emerdata director while also serving as a director in the SCL network.

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