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Cambridge Analytica offers to hand over evidence to Information Commissioner

Cambridge Analytica offers to hand over evidence to Information Commissioner

Friday 23 March 2018

Cambridge Analytica offers to hand over evidence to Information Commissioner


The London-based company is being investigated amid claims Facebook data may have been illegally acquired and used on behalf of political clients.

Cambridge Analytica has offered to hand over evidence to the Information Commissioner, a court heard.

The London-based company is being investigated amid claims Facebook data may have been illegally acquired and used on behalf of political clients and the commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, is requesting a warrant to search its offices.

A judge hearing her request at the High Court was told Cambridge Analytica will deliver all communications between its elections arm, SCL Elections Ltd (SCLE), and a firm run by academic Dr Aleksandr Kogan by 5pm on Monday.

The court heard Dr Kogan developed an app called This is Your Digital Life which was used to gather data from Facebook users.

However, lawyers representing the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the firm’s offer was “a poor second best” and are pursuing the application for a warrant.

Ben Summers, for the ICO, said Dr Kogan’s firm Global Science Research (GSR) deployed the app on Facebook, which invited users to complete a survey between November 2013 and December 2014.

He added: “That application gathered not only their responses to that survey, designed to elicit certain information about their personalities or characters, but also recorded data from that user’s profile and gathered data from those users’ friends on Facebook.”

The ICO also wants a warrant to access the firm’s offices and search its servers to check for data obtained from Facebook.

Lawyers representing SCLE said the firm “does not have” the data, as it was deleted following a request from Facebook, but the ICO does not believe this is the case and wants to inspect the servers.

Both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook deny any wrongdoing.

Dr Kogan previously claimed in an interview he is being made a “scapegoat”.

The request for a warrant follows the issue of a demand for access, on March 7, to which there was no response by the deadline provided.

The proceedings stem from claims over the harvesting of personal data – and whether it was used during Donald Trump’s US presidential campaign or the Brexit referendum.

Cambridge Analytica’s chief executive Alexander Nix has been suspended while Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been called on to give evidence to MPs in person.

The hearing before Judge Leonard continues.

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