UK Information Commissioner’s Office Orders Cambridge Analytica to Hand Over US Voter Data

article by Christina Williams
May 29, 2018
Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm that is known for its involvement in the Facebook scandal, has been ordered to return the data and personal information of an American voter. If the firm fails to hand over the information, it may face criminal charges.

The move, made by the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office, will likely pave the way for more than 200 million Americans to demand the return of their personal data. David Carroll, a professor at Parsons School of Design, discovered his right to his data under the British Laws. However, Cambridge Analytica refused to accept his request. Now, the ICO is siding with Carroll. The office has told the firm that their refusal is illegal and they have 30 days to hand over Carroll’s information or appeal.

Carroll lauded the landmark decision and believes that the move will help millions of people whose data was compromised by Cambridge Analytica.

“This should solve a lot of mysteries about what the company did with data and where it got it from,” Carroll said. “I hope that it will help the ongoing investigations in my country and yours, and other places like Canada. There’s a lot of questions that no one has been able to answer until now so hopefully, this will be a major breakthrough in our understanding of what it did.”

He also shamed the firm for comparing American voters to Islamic jihadis. He claims that Cambridge Analytica’s actions are a form of digital colonialism. Carroll is also researching what rights to data he has through the British courts. His case will be heard later this year.  

Ravi Naik, a lawyer who is working on Carroll’s case, believes that the ICO’s move validates the professor’s legal battle.  

“The company put him through such a torturous process over what should have been a very simple subject access request,” Naik said. “ It was always astonishing to us that Cambridge Analytica and SCL took such a combative approach when the law is crystal clear. Data flows across borders, so the law follows.”

The ICO has told the firm to provide passwords for the servers that seized during an investigative raid of the company’s office. Paul-Olivier Dehaye, a data expert who helped Carroll with his case, is pleased that the ICO is holding Cambridge Analytica accountable for its actions.

“Cambridge Analytica has been able to evade journalists’ questions and mislead both parliament and Congress, but now if they don’t answer these questions, it shows they’re criminally liable. And there’s also the potential that the truth could be more incriminating,” he said.

The consulting firm announced that they went into liquidation earlier this month. However, the ICO is still holding the company accountable for its decisions. If it refuses to comply with Carroll’s demands, it may face a class action lawsuit from the United States.


Source: The Guardian