Facebook data breach: UK’s data watchdog raids Cambridge Analytica offices

London: Britain’s data watchdog on Friday raided the London offices of Cambridge Analytica for allegedly selling Facebook data of 50 million users to help Donald Trump in his voting campaign. The data analytics firm has been blasted for harvesting political gains to parties. Around 20 offices of the firm were searched after a High Court judge granted the search warrant.

The head of Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Elizabeth Denham had sought the warrant after a whistleblower said Cambridge Analytica had mishandled the private information of FB users. Those involved in the search operation were seen checking books and papers through the windows of the second-floor offices on London’s busy New Oxford Street, a Reuters witness said.

The watchdog is investigating how Facebook data got into Cambridge Analytica’s hands. US lawmakers on Friday had asked Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to come to Congress to explain the cause of the breach. While the CEO of Facebook said on Wednesday that his company made mistakes in mishandling data and promised tougher steps to restrict developers access to data.

Targeting Facebook’s business model, US President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist and former Vice President of Cambridge Analytica Steve Bannon had earlier accused the social network giant of selling the data of users. “They take your stuff for free. They sell it and monetise it for huge margins. That’s why the companies trade for such high valuations,” Bannon was quoted as saying. “Then they write algorithms and control your life,” he added.