Cambridge Analytica Fined For Refusing To Give American Professor His Data

The parent company of Cambridge Analytica, President Trump's consultancy during the 2016 election, admitted Wednesday that it violated a UK privacy law by refusing to provide an American citizen with his data. The company was fined around $19,000, according to The Guardian.

The company's admission and fine stemmed from a request by U.S. professor David Carroll for a copy of data about him held by Cambridge Analytica, now in bankruptcy. The company turned over some information, but refused Carroll's request for details regarding how it arrived at predictions about him and whether his data was shared with third parties.

Cambridge Analytica reportedly argued that Carroll wasn't entitled to the information because he was American. The UK Information Commissioner Office rejected that argument and ordered Cambridge Analytica to respond to Carroll's request.

Instead, Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL Elections, pleaded guilty to violating the UK law.

Earlier this year, it came to light that Cambridge Analytica harvested personal data from up to 87 million Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica reportedly obtained the data from Global Science Research's Alexsandr Kogan, who collected the information in 2014 via his personality-quiz app "thisisyourdigitallife." That app was downloaded by 270,000 Facebook users, but Kogan was able to gather information about millions of those users' friends.

In April of 2015, Facebook stopped allowing developers to access data about users' friends. But in 2014, when Kogan's app scraped the data, Facebook allowed developers to glean information about users' friends, subject to their privacy settings. Facebook's terms of service prohibited developers from sharing that information.

Facebook learned in 2015 that Cambridge Analytica had obtained the data, and asked the consultancy to destroy it. The social networking service says it believed at the time that Cambridge Analytica did so.

In March, Cambridge Analytica denied using the Facebook data on Trump's behalf. But the company's former CEO, Alexander Nix, boasted to an undercover reporter that the company's extensive ad targeting helped Trump win the presidency.

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