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Home / News / India /  CBI files case against Cambridge Analytica for Facebook data theft: Report

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday registered a case against UK-based political consulting company Cambridge Analytica for the alleged "illegal harvesting of personal data of 5.62 lakh Facebook users in India", according to a PTI report.

The probe agency has also named Global Science Research (GSRL), another firm based out of that country, in the same case.

As per reports, it is alleged that Cambridge Analytica received data from Global Science Research, which employed "illegal means" of personal data harvesting of Indians using Facebook.

Facebook has more than 20 crore users in India.

Three years ago in March 2018, several international media platforms cited former Cambridge Analytica employees, associates, and documents to state that the company had harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission.

The Mark Zuckerberg-led Facebook had said that the data of around 87 million people – mostly in the United States – might have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

In 2018, The IT ministry had shot off letters to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica asking for clarification on the issue from them after the data breach came to light.

CBI's preliminary enquiry

The CBI, in September 2018, had initiated a preliminary enquiry against Cambridge Analytica and social media giant Facebook over the allegations.

The preliminary enquiry reportedly said that GSRL Founder and Director 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 Facebook's policy, the app was authorised to collect specific user data for academic and research purposes. However, the app also collected additional unauthorised data of users illegally, CBI's preliminary enquiry has found.

The data, including demographic information, pages liked, and contents on private chats, was collected without the knowledge and consent of the app users in the country.

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