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British watchdog granted warrant to search Cambridge Analytica

By Danielle Haynes
British watchdog granted warrant to search Cambridge Analytica
A British watchdog agency was granted permission to seize computer servers from Cambridge Analytica, which stands accused of improperly accessing 50 million Facebook users' data. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

March 23 (UPI) -- A British judge granted Britain's top watchdog agency, the Information Commissioner's Office, a warrant to search the offices of Cambridge Analytica, a data mining company accused of improperly accessing millions of Facebook users' data.

The ICO said Friday the judge granted the agency the ability to raid Cambridge Analytica's offices and seize its computer servers.

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"This is just one part of a larger investigation into the use of personal data for political purposes and we will now need time to collect and consider the evidence," the ICO said in a Twitter post.

Last week, Facebook suspended the account of Cambridge Analytica, which ran data for President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, collecting more than 50 million Facebook users' private information without permission.

Paul Grewal, Facebook's vice president and deputy general counsel, released a statement March 16 saying that Cambridge Analytica's account was suspended given its "public prominence." T

Grewal said that the account was suspended because University of Cambridge Psychology Professor Aleksandr Kogan "lied to us and violated our Platform Policies."

While the information Kogan gained from what was billed on Facebook as an "app used by psychologists" -- such as information users had liked on their profile -- was legitimate, Grewal said Kogan crossed a line when he forwarded that information to third-party organization Cambridge Analytica. Kogan had also passed information on to Analytica's parent company, Strategic Communications Laboratories, as well as Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, who helped found Analytica.

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