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CBI asks Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and GSR again if India data was breached

A month after the CBI launched a preliminary inquiry against Cambridge Analytica, the agency wrote to Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Global Science Research seeking details regarding alleged theft of user data of Facebook users in India, reported the Indian Express.

The CBI is probing whether Cambridge Analytica received data from Global Science Research and if the data was harvested or misused. “Further investigations will take place after we receive a reply.” a CBI official told the Indian Express.

Cambridge Analytica’s influence in India

  • In April, Facebook revealed data belonging to over 562,455 Indian Facebook users may have been improperly accessed by British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
  • In a reply to a Lok Sabha question (pdf) in August, Minister of Electronics and IT, RS Prasad said that in a second notice, Facebook informed the government that Cambridge Analytica had violated Facebook’s policy.
    • “Cambridge Analytica have not responded to the second notice. Since the reply given by Cambridge Analytica was not adequately convincing, and that there was divergence in the replies given by Facebook & Cambridge Analytica, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been asked to investigate this matter with regard to possible misuse by Cambridge Analytica.” said the minister.
  • The Indian government has served notices to both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook after the social media giant revealed that Indians may have been exposed to the breach.
  • Facebook has been served three notices by the centre as of now, and the last one sought an explanation over reports of the company’s data sharing partnerships with phone manufacturers.

Read: Cambridge Analytica, Facebook and India: Everything we learned

Global Science Research ran personality app ‘thisisyourdigitallife’ which got access to the data of 270,000 people who took the quiz. The company passed the data to Cambridge Analytica’s parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories. In March, Facebook suspended SCL/Cambridge Analytica from the platform. Facebook’s older terms of service allowed some to access the data of users’ friends in addition to just the users’ data. GSR was eventually able to access the data of 87 milllion users, mostly Americans, but also users from India, Ghana and other developing countries.

Also read: How 50 million Facebook users were profiled and influenced: A low down on Cambridge Analytica

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