UK authorities seek warrant for Cambridge Analytica offices

Data analytics firm is at the center of a scandal over its misuse of Facebook data during the 2016 US election.

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Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm at the center of a scandal over misused Facebook user data, may soon find its offices raided by UK authorities.

UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said Monday she's seeking a warrant to search the company's offices and servers for any evidence of illegal activity. The company had harvested information from 50 million Facebook accounts without users' permission and then misused it for political ads during the 2016 US presidential election, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Denham told the UK's Channel 4 that her office "has been carrying out an investigation into data analytics and political profiling and micro-targeting for several months now. And we have heard similar allegations during our investigation."

The comments come after consultants for the company were caught on camera offering to film politicians being bribed and circulate the videos on the internet in exchange for cash. They also offered to use Ukrainian sex workers and companies employing ex-spies to help dig dirt on political candidates.

Cambridge Analytica denied using entrapments or bribes for any purpose.

Facebook said Friday it has suspended Cambridge Analytica and Cambridge professor Aleksandr Kogan, who created an app called "thisisyourdigitallife," a personality quiz that was billed as "a research app used by psychologists."  Kogan is the founder and a director of Global Science Research, which worked with Cambridge Analytica to harvest the data from the quiz, The Observer reported.

Kogan's data-gathering was in compliance with Facebook's rules. But, Facebook says, Kogan then sent this data to Cambridge Analytica without user permission, something that's against the social network's rules.

Cambridge Analytica didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on a possible pending raid on its offices.

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