US News Russia may have Facebook users' data mined by Cambridge Analytica, whistleblower says

02:00  17 may  2018
02:00  17 may  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

Former detective who was excommunicated by his own superiors for trying to bring a paedophile priest to justice finally gets closure after a fifty year compensation battle

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Cambridge Analytica has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks, following media reports that the firm improperly obtained the data of millions of Facebook users in order to use it to sway elections. Wylie said on Sunday that the number of Facebook users whose data was gathered by the British

The number of Facebook users affected by the recent data sharing scandal could exceed 87 million and records could be stored in Russia , Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie said on Sunday.

Watch: Cambridge Analytica shared data with Russia: whistleblower (AFP)

WASHINGTON — Russian officials may have the personal data of millions of Facebook users that was collected by Cambridge Analytica without consumers' permission, whistleblower Christopher Wylie told a Senate panel Wednesday.

Wylie, who flew here from London to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, was asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., whether it's possible that the Facebook data "ended up in Russia." 

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Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie says the data the firm gathered from Facebook could have come from more than 87 million users and could be stored in Russia .

How Cambridge Analytica ’s whistleblower became Facebook ’s unlikely foe. Christopher Wylie, one of the founders of Cambridge Analytica and now a whistleblower who exposed how the data firm harvested data from millions of Facebook users , poses for a portrait Wednesday in a London law

"I can't say definitively, one way or the other, if these data sets did end up in Russia but what I can say is that it would have been very easy to facilitate that," said Wylie, who worked as research director for Cambridge Analytica from mid-2013 to late 2014 before leaving the company and helping expose the Facebook privacy breach.

Wylie, who flew here from London to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, was asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., whether it's possible that the Facebook data © Reuters Wylie, who flew here from London to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, was asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., whether it's possible that the Facebook data "ended up in Russia." Wylie said Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge University psychology professor who developed an application that harvested the Facebook data and sold it to Cambridge Analytica, was frequently in Moscow and St. Petersburg working on projects funded by the Russian government.

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Cambridge Analytica cofounder Christopher Wylie told "Meet the Press" that more data could've been stolen from Facebook users and could be stored in Russia . Whistleblower Christopher Wylie exposed how Cambridge Analytica had allegedly harvested date from millions of Facebook users .

Cambridge Analytica is being investigated by British officials for its handling of Facebook users ' personal data . A person familiar with the interview says Christopher Wylie, a Cambridge Analytica employee-turned- whistleblower , will speak to the committee and provide documents.

Wylie said Russian officials could easily have stolen the data from Kogan's laptop with a simple keylogger, which is software that can be installed remotely to track which keys are struck on a computer keyboard.

"I know that Dr. Kogan was at the time working on projects related to psychological profiling in Russia, and that he told me he was making his research known to contacts in Russia," Wylie said. "My concern was that the data could have been collected from him while he was in Russia."

Wylie expressed those fears while testifying on the broader issue of data privacy in the wake of recent revelations that an estimated 87 million Facebook users had their privacy breached by Cambridge Analytica. 

Wylie expressed those fears while testifying on the broader issue of data privacy in the wake of recent revelations that an estimated 87 million Facebook users had their privacy breached by Cambridge Analytica. © Reuters Wylie expressed those fears while testifying on the broader issue of data privacy in the wake of recent revelations that an estimated 87 million Facebook users had their privacy breached by Cambridge Analytica. The revelations spurred angry lawmakers to press Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about why his company didn't do more to protect its users' data. Zuckerberg testified before House and Senate committees for about 10 hours over two days in April, repeatedly apologizing for the breach and promising to do better.

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Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie previously estimated that more than 50 million people were compromised by a personality quiz that collected data from users and their friends. Cambridge Analytica said in a statement Wednesday that it had data for only 30 million people.

Grewal says he's troubled by reports that Facebook may have allowed the company to harvest and monetize users ' private data . Cambridge Analytica is being investigated by British officials for its handling of Facebook users ' personal data .

"The Cambridge Analytica scandal has exposed that social platforms are no longer safe for users," Wylie testified. "We have to face up to this fact. These platforms are critical parts of American cyberspace in desperate need of protection and oversight."

Congress is considering legislation to give consumers greater power over their data.

A bipartisan bill by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Kennedy, R-La., would allow consumers to opt out of having their data collected and give them the right to obtain copies of any data already been gathered about them. Consumers also would have the power to order companies to delete their data.

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg has accepted an invitation by the European Parliament to come to Brussels soon to "clarify issues related to the use of personal data," according to a tweet Wednesday from European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.

Facebook's Zuckerberg arrives for grilling by EU lawmakers over data leak .
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