British watchdog granted warrant to search Cambridge Analytica

The offices of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica are seen in central London

Earlier this week, British TV station Channel 4 revealed that its undercover investigation found Cambridge Analytica offered to entrap politicians by using sex and bribes in foreign countries.

The so-called psychographic modelling techniques, which were built in part with the data harvested from Facebook, underpinned the company's work for then-Republican nominee and US President Donald Trump's campaign in 2016.

One of its directors was Dr Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge University data scientist who reportedly admitted harvesting the personal details of 30 million people through the app.

But in 2014, it wound up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, which was working to develop techniques that could be used to influence voters and was later hired by Trump's campaign.

The Information Commissioner's Office tweeted: "ICO granted warrant: We're pleased with the decision of the judge and we plan to execute the warrant shortly".

A High Court judge granted the warrant Friday evening.

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"As you will expect, we will now need to collect, assess and consider the evidence before coming to any conclusions", he added.

The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology has issued a notice to Cambridge Analytica, wherein the serious breach of propriety and misuse of data meant to profile and influence voting behaviour has been highlighted, the release said.

Their search began at 8pm on Friday, with officials seen taking photos of a whiteboard and computers and taking notes on a clipboard.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that his company made mistakes in mishandling data belonging to 50 million of its users and promised tougher steps to restrict developers access to data. "We have a basic responsibility to protect peoples' data".

"No, we didn't run the whole campaign and maybe our work wasn't used, but when I talked to the press we were actually undertaking data work and analysis" for Leave.

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