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The Centre Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a case against UK-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, for alleged illegal collection of personal data of nearly 5.62 lakh Indian Facebook users and using the data to influence elections in India.
Facebook has more than 20 crore users in India.
The investigating agency has also named Global Science Research Limited (GSRL), another company based in the UK, in a similar case, NDTV reported.
In March 2018, the consulting firm was named by various international media platforms in 2018, for harvesting information from the Facebook profiles of over 50 million users in the world without their permission.
Back then, Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, had informed Parliament that there would be a CBI probe into the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data theft case.
The preliminary enquiry revealed criminal offences committed by Cambridge Analytica and GSRL, following which, the agency booked the two firms under charges of criminal conspiracy and cybercrime.
Responding to the CBI's queries, Facebook had said GSRL illegally collected personal data of around 5.62 lakh Indian users and shared it with Cambridge Analytica. The consulting firm then used the data to influence elections.
The inquiry further revealed that the GSRL Founder and Director, Dr Alexander Kogan, had created an app "This Is Your Digital Life", which was authorised to collect specific user data for academic and research purposes according to Facebook's policy.
However, the app also collected additional unauthorised data of users, including demographic information, pages likes, and contents on private chats were collected without the app users' knowledge and consent.
Around 335 users in India had installed this app, according to Facebook. The social media giant has estimated that the data of 5.62 lakh additional users, who were part of the friends' network of the initial 335, had also been collected illegally by the app.
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