British investigators belonging to the country’s data watchdog searched the headquarters of data firm Cambridge Analytica in London on Friday, The Guardian reported.
The company is accused of using the private data of more than five crore Facebook users to help United States President Donald Trump’s election campaign influence voters in 2016. Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica last week.
UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham is looking to access the company’s records. “This is just one part of a larger investigation into the use of personal data and analytics for political purposes,” her office said in a statement. “As you will expect, we will now need to collect, assess and consider the evidence before coming to any conclusions.”
The investigators were reportedly looking for correspondence between the SCL Group, the firm’s parent company, and Global Science Research, the firm run by Aleksandr Kogan – the researcher responsible for developing the Facebook app that collected details of users’ Facebook friends without their permission. This was then used in a targeted digital advertisement campaign to aid Trump’s run for presidency.
Facebook sued in the US
Meanwhile, Facebook is facing four lawsuits in federal courts in the United States in northern California, SFGate reported. A Facebook user has filed a class action suit, in which a group of people is collectively represented by a member of that group, in San Jose on behalf of those whose data Cambridge Analytica used.
Facebook shareholders Fan Yuan and Robert Casey have each filed their own class action lawsuits against the company, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, and Chief Financial Officer David Wehner. They are seeking to recover the losses incurred when Facebook’s shares declined this week after the data breach revelations.
A lawyer has filed the fourth case on behalf of shareholders, accusing Zuckerberg, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, and board members of violating their fiduciary duty.