British authorities raid Cambridge Analytica offices in London | News | DW | 23.03.2018
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British authorities raid Cambridge Analytica offices in London

The raid is the latest event in an ongoing scandal surrounding the company's use of millions of Facebook users' private data. The warrant for the search had been delayed by 24 hours.

Investigators from Britain's information regulatory agency on Friday raided the central London offices of Cambridge Analytica, the consulting company at the center of a Facebook data misuse scandal.

A High Court judge had granted the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) a warrant for the search on Friday evening.

Read more: Facebook's Cambridge Analytica data scandal: What you need to know

"ICO granted warrant: We're pleased with the decision of the judge and we plan to execute the warrant shortly," the ICO tweeted shortly before the raid. "This is just one part of a larger investigation into the use of personal data for political purposes and we will now need time to collect and consider the evidence."

Transatlantic probes

ICO chief Elizabeth Denham had requested the warrant on Thursday after a whistleblower said Cambridge Analytica had illegally used private information of some 50 million Facebook users to support US President Donald Trump's 2016 electoral campaign.

The presiding judge, Anthony James Leonard, adjourned the request by 24 hours. His legal explanation for the approval is expected on Tuesday.

Regulators in the US and Britain are also investigating whether Facebook, the world's largest social media platform, did enough to protect user data.

CA denies wrongdoing

Cambridge Analytica and Facebook have denied committing any crimes.

Cambridge Analytica said it was, however, undertaking an independent audit to verify that it no longer has any of the Facebook data.

"We in no way resemble the politically motivated and unethical company that some have sought to portray," acting CEO Alexander Tayler said. "The company believed that the data had been obtained in line with Facebook's terms of service and data protection laws."

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has admitted his company "made mistakes" and apologized to the service's users.

Read more: Germany demands answers from Facebook over data breach

Cambridge CEO suspended

Cambridge Analytica suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, on Tuesday after Britain's Channel 4 News published a video of Nix boasting about ensnaring politicians and covertly influencing elections around the world.

British lawmakers have requested Zuckerberg and Nix appear before the Parliament to answer questions about the alleged data misuse.

Read more: Opinion: While privacy concerns persist, Facebook also contributes to democracy

amp/sms (Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP)

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