British politician: Cambridge Analytica-linked Facebook data possibly accessed from Russia


Personal Facebook data gathered without users’ knowledge by Cambridge Analytica prior to the 2016 election was possibly accessed from Russia and other countries, a member of British Parliament said Tuesday.

Damian Collins, a Conservative MP leading an investigation into Cambridge Analytica’s activities, told CNN that the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had discovered that some of the systems linked to the investigation had been accessed by IP addresses linked to several countries, including Russia.


“I think what we want to know now is who were those people and what access did they have, and were they actually able to take some of that data themselves and use it for whatever things they wanted,” Collins said.

Facebook previously revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm headquartered in London that worked with the Trump campaign in 2016, had obtained the personal data and information of tens of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge or consent via the use of a third-party app developed by Aleksandr Kogan, a professor at Cambridge University.

“[T]here will be a lot of interest now to see to what extent were people in Russia benefiting from the work Kogan was doing with his colleagues in Cambridge in the U.K.,” Collins added. “So is it possible, indirectly, that the Russians learned from Cambridge Analytica, and used that knowledge to run ads in America during the presidential election as well.”

In a statement to CNN, the ICO confirmed that “some of the systems linked to the investigation were accessed from IP addresses that resolve to Russia and other areas of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States].”

Kogan told the network in response to Collins’s announcement that he never knowingly gave any information to Russian entities, but that it was possible it had been accessed without his knowledge.

“I don’t know what could have happened to the data once I handed it over to Cambridge Analytica so it is difficult for me to speculate,” he said. “It could have nothing to do with the Russian authorities, it could just be someone checking their mailbox.”

Cambridge Analytica, which is now defunct, has stated that none of the data was used in its activities during the 2016 election. Despite this, the firm is now ensnared in the ongoing special counsel investigation into ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

Tags Alexandr Kogan British Government British parliament Cambridge Analytica Damian Collins Russia Investigation Trump campaign U.K.
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