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Article

10 Apr 2018

Author:
Owen Bowcott and Alex Hern, The Guardian (UK)

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica face class action lawsuit

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British and US lawyers have launched a joint class action against Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and two other companies for allegedly misusing the personal data of more than 71 million people.  The lawsuit claims the firms obtained users’ private information from the social media network to develop “political propaganda campaigns” in the UK and the US.  Facebook, it is said, may initially have been misled, but failed to act responsibly to protect the data of 1 million British users and 70.6 million people in America.  The data, it is suggested, was first used in the British EU referendum and then in the US during the 2016 presidential election.  As well as Cambridge Analytica, the two firms named in the legal writ are SCL Group Limited and Global Science Research Limited (GSR).  Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former campaign and White House adviser, led Cambridge Analytica in 2014, when the data was collected and extracted, the legal papers state.  The Cambridge University neuroscientist Aleksandr Kogan, a founding director of GSR, is also named...All the companies and Kogan have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.  Jason McCue...is leading the UK arm of the claim.  He said: “The defendants effectively abused the human right to privacy of ordinary Facebook users and, if that were not enough, then the fruits of that abuse are alleged to have undermined the democratic process...”...While Kogan’s GSR was granted permission by Facebook to collect data for academic research, the lawsuit maintains, it ended up being used for political and commercial purposes...

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