Following the suspension of Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix for being caught on video offering to entrap politicians with bribes and sex workers and boasting about the company's role in President Trump's upset electoral triumph, Britain's top data authority, the Information Commissioner's Office, has obtained a warrant to raid the firm's London offices and seize its servers, according to Sky News.
The Information Commissioner's Office has been granted a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica's office, following claims they misused millions of people's online data pic.twitter.com/vEzI901LV3— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 23, 2018
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said on Monday that she'd be seeking the warrant following reports that the firm improperly utilized the data of 50 million American Facebook users during its work advising the Trump campaign surfaced over the weekend. CA, a subsidiary of private British data firm SCL Group, has denied the reports, claiming it didn't use the Facebook data during its work for the Trump campaign - contrary to what a former employee-turned-whistleblower has alleged. The warrant was approved Friday night.
Denham told Sky News that she sought the warrant after the company refused her request to see their records. She ominously told reporters that her examination of Cambridge Analytica was "one strand of a much larger investigation into the use of personal information for big data politics," per Business Insider.
Stroz Friedberg, a digital forensics firm contracted by Facebook to perform an audit of CA's systems to determine whether it did delete the Facebook data as it claimed, traveled to Cambridge's offices on Monday to carry out their audit. But they stood down following a request from the Information Commissioner's Office, which told them their search could potentially compromise a regulatory investigation.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier this week that the scandal is "clearly very concerning" and called on both Facebook and CA to comply.
Regulators and lawmakers in both the UK and US have demanded explanations from both firms regarding their handling of private user data. Laws governing the use of private user data are more strict in the UK than in the US. Specifically, lawmakers and regulators are seeking to learn how CA came into possession of the data in 2014, and why Facebook neglected to inform its users that their data was improperly accessed. They've also both demanded investigations into the matter.
Denham is also investigating Facebook's involvement in the scandal.
CA has naturally said the warrant is unnecessary because the firm has already deleted the data.