Now, Christopher Wylie names JD(U), says Cambridge Analytica did caste surveys


Chief executive of Cambridge Analytica Alexander Nix surrounded by journalists before the Facebook scandal that led to his suspension.

Facebook claims the changes have been in the works for years but were expedited following the revelation that political data firm Cambridge Analytica illegally obtained the personal information of 50 million users from a personality test app.

Wylie deposed before the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) amid an escalating row around alleged Facebook data breaches linked with the controversial UK-based company, which has also been linked with alleged attempts to influence elections in India.

It said in 2011, SCL India undertook a state-wide research campaign to identify voter caste by household. But the app didn't just scrape the data from those subscribers but also from their Facebook friends, which amounted to a network of about 50 million people.

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On Tuesday, Wylie had told the British Parliament that his company worked in India and that he "believes" Congress was a client. The action comes a day after the whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, revealed that his former employers worked with the Congress in India on some regional projects.

Wylie also claimed that Dan Muresan, Head of Elections at Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) Group - CA's parent company - and his predecessor were working in India before he mysteriously died in Kenya.

"I believe I have some documentation on India which I can also provide to the committee", said Wylie to the committee.

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Summarising his feelings about the companies and execs, Wylie said that they don't care whether or what they do is legal, as long as it gets the job done.

"Last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies and help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data", Egan and Beringer said in the blog post, titled 'It's time to make our privacy tools easier to find'. "According to reports from India, apparently he was really paid for by an Indian billionaire who actually wanted the Congress to lose".

"So he was pretending to work for one party, but was paid underhand by someone else. Obviously, that's a country which is rife with political discord and opportunities for destabilisation", said Labour MP Paul Farrelly, member of the parliamentary committee, during his questioning.

"It's about the integrity of the democratic process", said Wylie, a former Cambridge Analytica employee, who earlier this month, revealed details of how the firm had inappropriately gathered Facebook data used to target voters in the USA, dating back to 2014, using an app developed by Cambridge psychologist Aleksandr Kogan.

Both the governing Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Indian National Congress deny hiring Cambridge Analytica's Indian counterpart for election campaigns and flung accusations at their rivals instead.

During a lengthy session in which MPs from across the political spectrum on the culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee quizzed Wylie, he provided a snapshot of the work carried out by the firms, now in the spotlight, highlighting how data captured enabled them to build up psychological profiles of individuals who would be particularly susceptible to forms of certain tactics. "Rahul Gandhi has been trying to divert attention all these while", his another tweet read. "They have lied. They must apologise to the nation", Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Being an "unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made", Facebook chose to suspend SCL/Cambridge Analytica, Wylie and Kogan from Facebook, "pending further information".