The Cambridge Analytica headquarters in London were raided by 18 law enforcement officers from the British Information Ministry on Friday evening after a judge granted a search warrant.
According to news reports, the warrant and the British Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, were “seeking access to records held by Cambridge Analytica which faces allegations it may have illegally acquired the information of millions of Facebook users and used it to profile and target voters during political campaigns.”
A judge granted the comprehensive search warrant after a five-hour hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, in which the Information Ministry set forth their case as to why they had a compelling need to search the West End premises of the London-based data analytics company.
A spokesperson for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said: “We are pleased with the decision of the judge and we plan to execute the warrant immediately. This is just one part of a larger investigation into the use of personal data and analytics for political purposes. As you will expect, we will now need to collect, assess and consider the evidence before coming to any conclusions.”
The focus of the government’s investigation is how Facebook data was acquired and used by Cambridge Analytica, its propaganda company SCL, and professor who developed the software programs used to gather the data from Facebook users, Dr Aleksandr Kogan.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal has been growing over the past week as information was released to the public by whistleblowers who had previously worked for the company. It has been claimed by these whistleblowers that the company harvested personal data without the permission of the people involved. In addition, several different sources of information have revealed how this data was used to affect the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign as well as the so-called Brexit referendum which resulted in the U.K. leaving the European Union.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.