05:27 GMT +319 August 2019
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    A laptop showing the Facebook logo is held alongside a Cambridge Analytica sign at the entrance to the building housing the offices of Cambridge Analytica, in central London on March 21, 2018

    Cambridge Analytica 'Did What Wasn't Allowed by Terms of Service' - Specialist

    © AFP 2019 / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS
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    The political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica has shut down amid a scandal over data it mined from Facebook and used in political campaigns, namely the 2016 US election and Brexit referendum. Radio Sputnik discussed the situation with Yul Bahat, a member of Cyan’s cybersecurity advisory network.

    Cambridge Analytica has published a statement in which it said it had been “vilified” for legal activities.

    When asked if this particular situation is a witch hunt or whether Cambridge Analytica has some questions to answer about the way it obtained and utilized information and whether he personally was pro or against this company, Yul Bahat said that  the information they used was publicly available.

    “The question is how they got it: got it by lying; they got it by misleading; they got it by doing something which was specifically not allowed by certain terms of services. So, I think it's a lot more about how they did it and what their motives were than the information that they actually got. I think they definitely have some things to answer for,” Bahat noted.

    Investigators said that they will pursue Cambridge Analytica’s staff and directors despite the firm’s closure. Bahat believes that investigators should go after the company’s directors and the CEO, the people who actually were at the highest levels of the firm.

    When asked about the mechanism of acquiring data from social media users for political campaigns, about how this data is used in these in these campaigns, Yul Bahat said that in 2016, Cambridge Analytica created a Facebook app, which was actually a personality test.

    “You fill out some form, you answer some questions and they tell you what type of personality you have based on actual scientific research. Now the quiz itself was pretty harmless, that didn’t make any change. What people didn’t know, what they didn’t notice when they signed the fine print is that they actually allowed Cambridge Analytica full access to all their Facebook information including their list of friends,” Yul Bahat noted.

    READ MORE: UK to Continue Cambridge Analytica Probe After Firm's Closure

    Facebook has acknowledged that Cambridge Analytica acquired personal data from some 87 million Facebook profiles without users’ permission.

    In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went before a Congressional panel in Washington to testify about the data breach issue.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    Related:

    ‘Free and Fair Elections’ at Risk from Companies like Cambridge Analytica
    UK to Continue Cambridge Analytica Probe After Firm's Closure
    Tags:
    scandal, personal data breach, investigation, company closure, Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, Mark Zuckerberg, Yul Bahat, United Kingdom
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