Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Names Congress As Client, Data Specialist Says Billionaire Paid To Make Congress Lose
In a new twist to the Cambridge Analytica (CA) controversy, whistleblower Christopher Wylie, while testifying in front of the UK Parliament, has said that the Congress might have used Cambridge Analytica for some regional projects.
“They (Cambridge Analytica) worked extensively in India. They have an office in India,” Wylie responded. “I believe their client was Congress, but I know that they have done all kinds of projects. I don’t remember a national project but I know regionally. India’s so big that one state can be as big as Britain. But they do have offices there, they do have staff there,” the 28-year-old added.
Wylie also claimed that Dan Muresan, Head of Elections at Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) Group – CA’s parent company – and his predecessor were working in India before he mysteriously died in Kenya. However, in another twist, personal data protection expert Paul-Olivier Dehaye, who was also giving evidence before British lawmakers, revealed that an Indian billionaire paid SCL Group to ensure that Congress lost the elections. He says Dan Muresan was paid by the billionaire to make the party lose the elections.
“So he was pretending to work for one party but actually was paid underhand by someone else,” said Dehaye.
Accusations against Cambridge Analytica
From 2014, CA obtained data of as many as 50 million Facebook users. In an interview to journalist Carole Cadwalladr, the 28-year-old former employee of CA Chris Wylie revealed that the company acquired data in 2014 via an app named thisisyourdigitallife, which was built by Aleksandr Kogan, an academic at Cambridge University. Although this app was downloaded by 2,70,000 Facebook users, it also pulled in data of users’ other Facebook friends. This allowed CA to harvest data of about 50 million users without consent. The information campaigns then used this data to customise their strategy or “micro-target” to influence users based on their preferences and vulnerabilities.
Kogan said that he was not aware that his tool was being used illegally.
CA is being investigated by UK’s Electoral Commission for its role in Brexit referendum and by UK’s Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC).
In the US, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into CA’s role, apart from investigating Russian links to Trump campaign.
House of Commons Parliamentary committee has asked Zuckerberg to appear before it to answer questions regarding Facebook’s link to the case. Also, lawmakers said that the Facebook co-founder has to appear before US Congress. European Parliament has said that it will investigate this matter.