CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Tech Industry

Cambridge Analytica denies breaking any laws in data scandal

Data analytics firm says it licensed Facebook user data from a company that obtained it legally.

Chris J Ratcliffe / Getty Images

Cambridge Analytica on Monday denied breaking any laws as part of it role in Facebook's user data scandal.

In a lengthy statement labeled a "series of facts," the data analytics firm said it licensed the data from General Science Research (GSR), which obtained the data through a tool provided by Facebook. Cambridge Analytica also reiterated its denial that it used any of the GSR data during the 2016 US election.

"Hundreds of data firms have utilized Facebook data in a similar fashion," Cambridge Analytica said in its statement. "To be clear: Cambridge Analytica did not illegally or inappropriately collect or share data with anybody else."

The company said it released the statement "to address and stem the flow of speculation and false accusations being made about the company." Cambridge Analytica also launched a website called Cambridgefacts.com.

Cambridge Analytica is at the heart of a scandal that's stirred up two national governments and the world's largest social network. Facebook banned the UK-based political data analysis firm last month, saying it had improperly received as many as 87 million user profiles leaked from its service.

Facebook has said that a Cambridge University lecturer named Aleksandr Kogan collected the data legitimately through a personality quiz app but then violated Facebook's terms by sharing the information with Cambridge Analytica, a firm later hired by the Trump presidential campaign during the 2016 US election.

Facebook learned of the infraction in 2015 but didn't inform the public. Instead, the company demanded that all the parties involved destroy the information. But now there are reports that not all the data was deleted.

In Monday's statement, Cambridge Analytica also denied playing a role in the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign. It said Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower in the case, was not a founder of the company, but a contractor with Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL Elections. His work at the company lasted less than a year, the company said.

The statement went on to say that Cambridge Analytica only collects data with informed consent and that it's conducting an independent, third-party audit to demonstrate it holds no data from GSR.

"We will share the results of this investigation as soon as we receive them," Cambridge said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly apologized for his company's involvement in the scandal in TV interviews as well as newspaper ads and agreed to testify before Congress on Tuesday to answer questions about how his company uses and protects the data of its more than 2 billion users.

In the meantime, Facebook said it's auditing records in an effort to find any other companies that may have taken advantage of its service. 

"As we find more Cambridge Analyticas, we're going to find a comprehensive way to put them out and make sure people see them," Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told BuzzFeed in an interview published Thursday, referring to efforts to publicize problems.

Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Cambridge Analytica's statement.

Update, April 10 at 9:48 a.m. PT: Notes launch of Cambridgefacts.com.

Cambridge Analytica: Everything you need to know about Facebook's data mining scandal.

iHate: CNET looks at how intolerance is taking over the internet.