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Data theft case: CBI files FIR against Cambridge Analytica

It has also booked Global Science Research for its involvement in the case.

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KOLKATA: The central bureau of investigation (CBI) has filed an FIR against UK-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica for alleged illegal harvesting of personal data in India. It has also booked Global Science Research (GSRL) for its involvement in the same case.

Ministry of electronics and information technology (MEITY) had filed a complaint in 2018 based on media reports that Cambridge Analytica had unlawfully collecting personal data and whether such data was used to influence elections in India. A petition was registered pursuant to which the latest case has been filed.

GSRL founder and director Dr Alexander Kogan had created an app "thisisyourdigitallife" that allowed Cambridge Analytica to collect the personal details of 80 million Facebook users around the world. 335 Indian users installed this app. Following that, it was estimated that the data of 5.62 lakh friends of these persons was also harvested by the app. Data such as demographic information, pages liked, and contents on private chats, was collected without the knowledge and consent of the app users.

Back in 2018, Union minister of electronics and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad had informed the Rajya Sabha that there will be a CBI probe into the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data theft case.

An initial probe by CBI revealed that the social media platform had collected written certificates from Kogan and Cambridge Analytica declaring that the data obtained through the app was accounted for and destroyed.

“This fact confirms that M/S Global Science Research Ltd, UK illegally harvested datasets and provided the same to M/S Cambridge Analytica (UK) Ltd for commercial purposes. However, the enquiry could not authenticate the veracity of the claims of M/S Global Science Research Ltd, UK and M/S Cambridge Analytica (UK) Ltd that they had destroyed the said datasets,” a letter from a CBI official read as per media reports.

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