- CBI registers case against UK’s Cambridge Analytica in Facebook’s data theft
- CBI also named another UK Firm Global Science Research Limited (GSRL) in the same case
- CBI registered the case and alleged Cambridge Analytica of “illegal harvesting of personal data of 5.62 lakh Facebook users in India”
On Friday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against the United Kingdom-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica for the alleged “illegal harvesting of personal data of 5.62 lakh Facebook users in India”, according to the report from leading Indian news agency PTI.
India’s chief probe agency also named Global Science Research Limited (GSRL), another firm based out of that country, in the same case.
According to reports, it is alleged that the UK firm Cambridge Analytica received data from Global Science Research Limited, which employed “illegal means” to gather personal data of Indians using Facebook.
The social media platform Facebook has more than 20 crore users in India.
In March of 2018, almost 3 years ago, many international media platforms cited former Cambridge Analytica associates, employees and documents to state that the firm had harvested private information from Facebook profiles of more than 50 million (5 crore) users without their permission.
Facebook, which is owned by one of the richest men in the world Mark Zuckerberg, had said that the data of around 87 million (8.7 crore) people – majorly from the United States – might have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, in 2018, shot off letters to both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica asking them for clarification on the issue after the data breach came to light.
In September 2018, the Chief Bureau of Investigation had initiated a preliminary enquiry against Cambridge Analytica and social media giant Facebook over these allegations.
The preliminary enquiry, reportedly, said that the Founder and Director of GSRL, Dr Alexander Kogan, had created an app, thisisyourdigitallife.
Facebook had informed that 335 users in India had installed “thisisyourdigitallife” app. The social media platform has estimated that the data of at least 5.62 lakh additional users, who were part of the friends’ network of the initial 335, had also been harvested illegally by this app.
As per the policy of the social media platform Facebook, the application was authorised to collect specific data of users for academic and research purposes.
However, the app also collected additional unauthorised data of users which was illegal which the CBI’s preliminary enquiry has found.
The data which was illegally collected without the knowledge and consent of the users of the app in India included demographic information, pages liked, and also contents on private chats.