Posted on May 3, 2018 by staff

ICO’s Cambridge Analytica probe to continue despite closure


Regulators will continue to investigate Cambridge Analytica’s role in the Facebook data-sharing scandal despite the firm’s closure.

The UK-based company is accused of sharing data from the Facebook profiles of 87 million users without permission so they could be micro-targeted with political ads during the US election and UK’s EU referendum campaign.

On Wednesday Cambridge Analytica said in a statement: “Cambridge Analytica has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations and… vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas.

“Despite Cambridge Analytica’s unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully… the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers.

“As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business.”

However the Information Commissioner’s Office said the investigation was part of a wider probe into the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns, social media companies and others and would continue.

“The ICO will continue its civil and criminal investigations and will seek to pursue individuals and directors as appropriate and necessary even where companies may no longer be operating,” a spokeswoman said.

Damian Collins, chair of the Commons select committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, told the BBC: “We’ve got to make sure this isn’t an attempt to run and hide, that these companies are not closing down to try to avoid them being rigorously investigated over the allegations that are being made against them.”

Facebook said it would also continue its own investigation.

“This doesn’t change our commitment and determination to understand exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said a spokesman.

“We are continuing with our investigation in cooperation with the relevant authorities.”