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Christopher Wylie details Indian ops, mentions JD(U) in tweet

29 Marcha 2018, 06:46 | Crisanna Felipe

Facebook ads apologise for Cambridge Analytica scandal

Mark Zuckerberg

In what could be the most damning testimony against the Congress party, Cambridge Analytica's whistleblower Christopher Wylie implicated the party as a client of the controversial data analytics firm that has allegedly manipulated elections worldwide.

The company, a consultant to President Donald Trump's campaign, is accused of acquiring private information from millions of Facebook users and giving its clients access to the data.

Wylie, who used to work with Cambridge Analytica, offered to produce documents related to the firm's operations in India if the lawmakers were interested to look into them. 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. It is curious why, after such a long and successful run, they did no work in India after 2012, especially with a big election season in 2013-14.

Wylie, who came to the hearing with his hair dyed pink, said that besides the work for Congress, CA has "done all kinds of projects" in India. "I don't remember a national project but I know regionally", he was quoted as saying.

He said India supports freedom of speech, expression and exchange of ideas on social media, "but any attempt, covert or overt, by the social media, including Facebook, of trying to influence India's electoral process through undesirable means will neither be appreciated nor be tolerated".

Asked about Cambridge Analytica's methods Wylie said: "This is a company that goes out and tries to illicitly acquire live browsing data of everyone in an entire country..." Wylie further stated that he broke his silence on Cambridge Analytica as he believed that the company was influencing elections in struggling democracies and felt uneasy about this.

Mr Wylie said there had been collusion between the Vote Leave and BeLeave campaigns with AggregateIQ - a Canadian firm employed by Vote Leave to provide targeted marketing during the European Union referendum - which he was told was "totally illegal" under electoral rules.

The SCL India carried out research for a "major state party" in Rajasthan in 2003.

Facebook told the United Kingdom government's culture committee that Zuckerberg would not appear before the Culture Committee, which is investigating fake news, and that the company would instead send its chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer or head of product Chris Cox.

The Indian government had earlier taken note of the controversy.

Rick Tyler, a former comms director on Ted Cruz's presidential campaign, told Business Insider's Allan Smith that they used Cambridge Analytica and found that their software ultimately "didn't deliver".

But even if Cambridge Analytica did work on election campaigns in India, there is no evidence of any malpractice or illegality - and certainly nothing to do with Facebook data.

India's Information Technology Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, last week warned of tough action against social media giants if the data of Indians was misused. "We provide our clients with the research to develop and disseminate the right messages, from the right sources, using the right communication channels", he said.



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