CBI seeks more details from Facebook, Cambridge Analytica over theft of Indian users’ data

The Central Bureau of Investigation has contacted Facebook and Cambridge Analytica for details regarding their  alleged data theft. The probe agency had sought answers from the two companies over charges of illegally harvesting Indian users’ data from social media platforms.

A CBI official told India Today that they have initiated a preliminary enquiry to look into data theft of Indians from Facebook by British firms Cambridge Analytica and Global Science Research. They sought some information and request for the same was sent to concerned parties. They now have received a response from them and for further information, they have again written to them.

In its letter to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, the CBI has reportedly inquired about details of data collection exercise adopted by them. The CBI had conducted a preliminary enquiry against Cambridge Analytica and its parent company Global Science Research last year in the alleged user data theft case. It will be decided after the preliminary enquiry whether the allegations call for a full-fledged investigation through an FIR or not.

Cambridge Analytica allegedly received personal data of Indian Facebook users from Global Science Research. This data was harvested through illegal means and transferred without consent, amounting to a violation of privacy rights.

Whistleblower Christopher Wylie, who brought Cambridge Analytica scandal to light, had testified before a British parliamentary committee that the firm worked extensively in India. He also revealed that the firm had the Congress party as a client and was involved in all kinds of projects in India, including regionally.

In a tweet last year in March, Wylie said that Cambridge Analytica’s parent organisation SCL Group has its headquarters in Ghaziabad’s Indirapuram and its regional offices in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cuttack, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Patna and Pune.

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