Cambridge Analytica the London based company shut down its operations yesterday. This move comes after the massive Facebook data breach scandal which shocked the world.
The founder of the Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL Group confirmed the news. Both Cambridge and SCL Group are shutting down.
After the Facebook data breach, an investigation began against the data company. This led to both the data companies losing clients forcing them to shut down. The employees were asked to return their computers to the data firm.
These companies were also involved in Indian politics with the BJP and Congress as confirmed clients. However, both the parties denied having any connection with the company but their logos were featured on the company’s site which was immediately taken down by the Indian Government.
Cambridge Analytica’s Role:
In 2014, researchers asked Facebook users to take a personality survey and download an app. They took private information from these profiles. This was initially allowed by Facebook but now these surveys have been banned. The Cambridge University’s Psychometrics Center developed this technique for academic purposes.
The Center was approached by Cambridge Analytica asking to use this app but the Center declined. However, Aleksandr Kogan a Russian American psychology professor from the University was willing to help.
In 2014, Kogan built his own app and started harvesting information for the political data firm. The professor gave the firm access to over 50 million raw profiles according to a data expert who oversaw the harvesting process. Out of the 50 million people, only 270,000 users participated in the survey. The users were told the data harvested was to be used for academic purposes.
Initially, when the firm was questioned they outrightly denied the allegations but later changed their story. The political firm recently revealed it had acquired the data from Mr. Kogan but was unaware of how the professor gained access to the data. Cambridge Analytica firm said it realized where the data came from two years ago and deleted the set of raw files provided by Mr. Kogan. But according to The New York Times, there are still multiple copies of this data and the Times had a recent view of this raw data.