New Delhi (23.01.2021): The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against two UK based firms, Cambridge Analytica and Global Science Research Ltd, for illegally harvesting data of Facebook users in India for commercial purposes. The case is registered under Sections 120(B) of IPC, 66B, 85, and 43(a) r/w 66 of IT Act 2000 following a preliminary enquiry on a complaint from Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology(GoI).
It was revealed in the enquiry that the founder & Director of first UK based company had allegedly created an app “thisisyourdigitallife” and this app was authorized to collect specific data of its users in Facebook (FB) as per their platform policy.
It was alleged that the app illegally harvested additional data of FB users and of their friends on FB. It was further alleged that 335 Indians had installed the app and data of approximately 5.62 lakh FB friends of these users was unauthorizedly harvested by the app without their consent. It was also alleged that the said company entered into a conspiracy with second UK based company during 2014 and gave the right to use this illegally harvested data to a second company for commercial purpose.
According to CBI officials, Facebook had collected certificates from both the firms in 2016-17 that data collected by them using "thisisyourdigitallife" was accounted for and destroyed. However, the CBI enquiry did not find any evidence of any such destruction.
Officials cited the FIR to say that “the enquiry prima facie established that Global Science Research Ltd, UK dishonestly and fraudulently accessed data of app users of "thisisyourdigitallife" and their Facebook friends".