Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie drags Congress into the muck

March 29 14:52 2018

Soon after the news broke, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi told reporters that this vindicated BJP’s allegations that Congress used the services of Cambridge Analytica during the Gujarat Assembly elections previous year. It has been established that Congress was a client of Cambridge Analytica. Unfortunately, these modest changes do little to remedy a larger systemic problem.

Since news of the data mining broke, Facebook has been in damage control working on ways to better protect users’ privacy.

Authorities in the US and Europe are bearing down on Facebook and political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica over allegations the firm stole data from 50 million Facebook users and used it to manipulate elections.

Last week, a spokesperson for the State Department, confirmed that SCL had a contract worth $500,000 with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC), whose duties have included waging a social media war against the Islamic State (IS) group.

The bespectacled 28-year-old describes himself as “the gay Canadian vegan who somehow ended up creating Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool”, referring to Trump’s former adviser, whom the report said had deep links with Cambridge Analytica (CA). 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. “They have an office in India”, Wylie responded.

Its reach in India is said to include a head office in Ghaziabad, with nine regional offices in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Cuttack, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Patna and Pune.

Just yesterday, Wylie deposed before a committee of the British Parliament to give his testimony on the data harvesting scandal involving Facebook.

Wylie said he succeeded Muresan on some of Cambridge Analytica’s projects, but did not know about his death when he joined the organisation.

Internet experts say India is extremely vulnerable to the misuse of personal data during elections.

Levy suggested in the alleged memo that Nix, as a foreign national, should recuse himself from “substantive management” of clients involved with American elections, but that advice was ignored by Cambridge Analytica, the complaints say.

After Indian IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s statement on March 21, in which he came down strongly on Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the recent notice to Cambridge Analytica recognized the role of social media and Zuckerberg’s apology.

Smith said the company’s ineffectiveness is an “open secret” in USA political circles.

Zuckerberg has since apologised for what he called a “breach of trust” in full-page newspaper ads in several United Kingdom and U.S. newspapers. “We appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology has raised, as we continue our review of the situation”, a Facebook India spokesperson said in response to an email query. Wylie, 28, claims the data was sold to CA, which then used it to psychologically profile people and deliver material in favour of Donald Trump during the 2016 United States elections.

The group cited a memo from lawyer Laurence Levy to GOP megadonor Rebecca Mercer and Cambridge Analytica founder Andrew Nix, warning that foreign nationals “may not play strategic roles” in US elections.

Back then, Zuckerberg said the idea that fake news had affected the outcome of the U.S. election was “a pretty insane idea”.

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Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie drags Congress into the muck
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