According to British Parliament member Damian Collins, a large amount of data which was gathered by Cambridge Analytica included information accessed from Russia and other countries. Collins told CNN that his investigation regarding online misinformation has found Russian IP addresses on the devices which were responsible for the data gathering.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Britain’s main data protection office, has aided in Collins’ investigations. ICO made the recent discovery, and Collins was quick to express his concerns regarding their findings.
I think what we want to know now is who were those people and what access did they have, and were they actually able to take some of that data themselves and use it for whatever things they wanted.”
Cambridge Analytica created paid surveys for Facebook users in order to gather data. However, the company purposefully did not inform its survey participants that their friends’ profiles would be scanned for data. Cambridge Analytica’s so-called study resulted in tens of millions of U.S. citizens having their data exposed to the company. The company also reportedly worked with Donald Trump’s 2o16 presidential campaign.
Earlier this year, Cambridge Analytica’s intentions and actions were revealed, sending both them into crisis alongside Facebook. The data was gathered by Professor Aleksandr Kogan and, according to information he gave CNN, he visited Russia many times while gathering data. Kogan initially visited Russia in May 2014, before he started to collect information. When he returned in early 2016, he had reportedly deleted most of the data, and the remaining information did not include names or identifying information.
Kogan stated that he didn’t personally hand any piece of information to a Russian entity, claiming that Russian officials must have accessed his computer without his knowledge. He responded to Collins’ statements by stating to CNN:
I don’t know what could have happened to the data once I handed it over to Cambridge Analytica so it is difficult for me to speculate. This could be really innocuous, it could be as simple as an SCL (Cambridge Analytica’s British parent company) representative was in Russia and they remotely access the server to see some of the files. It could have nothing to do with the Russian authorities, it could just be someone checking their mailbox.”
Collins also addressed the fact that Russian officials definitely could have used Cambridge Analytica’s data in order to run ads which favored Trump’s campaign.
This latest development confirms that Russia was involved in one of the most controversial hacking scandals in recent memory.
Featured Image via Flickr/Book Catalog