The Congress on Wednesday denied having used the services of Cambridge Analytica, the British firm accused of using the private data of more than five crore Facebook users to help United States President Donald Trump’s election campaign in 2016. Party Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the “‘lawless’ law minister”, Ravi Shankar Prasad, was dishing out “white lies”.
Earlier in the day, Prasad alleged that the Congress had links with Cambridge Analytica and questioned whether the party depended on data manipulation and theft to woo voters.
“The BJP’s factory of fake news has produced one more fake product today,” Surjewala said. “It appears that fake statements, fake press conferences and fake agendas have become part of the BJP and its lawless Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s everyday character.”
He reiterated that neither the Congress nor its president, Rahul Gandhi, had ever used the services of Cambridge Analytica.
The Congress spokesperson, instead, alleged that the BJP and the Janata Dal (United) had hired Cambridge Analytica in 2010. “The firm’s Indian partner Ovlene Business Intelligence is run by the son of a BJP ally’s MP,” he claimed, adding that Home Minister Rajnath Singh had used the company’s services in 2009.
Earlier on Tuesday, another Congress spokesperson, Manish Tewari, said the Election Commission should conduct an investigation into what services were offered and to whom in India after a report by Channel4News claimed that Cambridge Analytica had “worked on Indian elections/campaigns”. The report does not clarify which Indian political party was engaged with the firm.
Apart from using private data, Cambridge Analytica is also accused of using shell companies, sex workers, fake news and bribes to sway election outcomes in several countries, according to the Channel4News report. Top executives purportedly made these claims to the channel’s undercover reporters.