Data firm Cambridge Analytica is a child of our inauthentic times

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A day after whistleblower Christopher Wylie clarified that Cambridge Analytica "worked extensively" in India, he on Wednesday put out the controversial data analytics firm's past projects, including 2010 general elections, in the country.

Political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica still has not deleted the entirety of the Facebook user data it acquired through questionable means in 2015 despite requests that it do so, Channel 4 News reported.

Wiley said it was "categorically untrue that Cambridge Analytica has never used Facebook data" that was taken in the 2016 election, as the Facebook data was foundational for creating Ripon.

Former Lib Dem colleague Ben Rathe had a less complementary description of Wylie, tweeting that he "thinks he's Edward Snowden, when he's actually Walter Mitty" - a reference to a fictional character with a vivid fantasy life.

The government last Friday had issued a notice seeking details relating to breach of data from Facebook particularly with regard to reports in the media about questionable practices attributed to Cambridge Analytica in their efforts to influence elections. 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.

"I don't remember a national project, but I know regionally", he added. The committee said Wylie provided it with documents including a services agreement between AIQ and SCL Elections, an affiliate of Cambridge Analytica, dated September 2014.

Wiley said that data taken from Facebook was used in the Ripon program used by Cambridge Analytica.

Vote Leave's campaign director Dominic Cummings labelled Mr Wylie a'fantasist charlatan in a blog post
Vote Leave's campaign director Dominic Cummings labelled Mr Wylie a'fantasist charlatan in a blog post

While Cambridge Analytica denied the allegations, the media reports have caused concerns across the globe with law enforcement authorities from the USA and the United Kingdom summoning Cambridge Analytica and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.

SCL, Cambridge Analytica's predecessor, had access to secret UK information and was singled out for praise by the UK Ministry of Defence for the training it provided to a psychological operations warfare group, according to documents newly released by MPs. But the man who was in charge of the Colorado group that used the firm during the 2014 election says neither he nor the group possesses the data. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala referred to statements in the parts of the deposition before the House of Commons which talked about how an Indian businessman was paying Cambridge Analytica to defeat Congress.

What is Cambridge Analytica and what did they do?

The revelation that Facebook users had their data mined and sold to political campaigns seeking to influence voters' behaviour has had wide-ranging implications in both the USA and Britain, and for the social media giant. Why is India's perpetually lying Law Minister (Ravi Shankar Prasad) throwing allegations in the media.

"We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you", Zuckerberg said.

More recently, media reports have noted that Cambridge Analytica representatives held meetings with top BJP and Congress leaders to secure a deal for the upcoming 2019 elections. The stock losses have reportedly cost Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg about $7 billion (£5 billion) in just the first few days following the reports of the data breach.

The controversy over Facebook data is likely to continue to reverberate in India, a country of 1.3 billion that is its largest market, with more than 250 million users.

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