In the ongoing Cambridge Analytica row, the BJP had accused Congress party of having links with the company that is now being seen as a disgraced data analytics firm. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had raised questions on Congress leaking Indians’ data to foreign firms such as Cambridge Analytica.
Will the Congress Party now depend on data manipulation and data theft for winning elections? There were reports of sudden surge in Rahul Gandhi’s social media following by using bots. Are such things being used for developing fake followings on social media? #FacebookDataBreach pic.twitter.com/drqjXDg9Mn
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) 21 March 2018
A day after the accusation, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had said that the Modi government was “inventing” a story to distract the media from the death of 39 Indians in Iraq who were abducted by the ISIS 4 years ago. Rahul Gandhi had also said that BJP’s “lying factory” was at works again and was spinning the fake news of Congress’s association with Cambridge Analytica, a controversial company charged of stealing data of people using Facebook.
Now, in a recent development, Christopher Wylie, a former employee of Cambridge Analytica has turned whistleblower and told a British parliamentary panel that he was aware that the company has worked extensively in India and had many offices and employees here. Wylie also said that he believed that Congress party was a client of the company.
Answering questions about Cambridge Analytica’s work in India, Christopher Wylie told British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee:
“I believe their client was Congress. But I know that they have done all kinds of projects. I don’t remember a national project, but I know regionally. I mean India is so big that you know that one state can be, you know, as big as Britain. But they do have offices there, they do have staff there. I believe I have some documentation on India, which I can also provide to the committee if that’s something of interest.”
Wylie offered to provide the committee, “documentation” on India. He also said that Dan Muresan, his predecessor and head of elections at SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company had also been working in India before his death in Kenya under mysterious circumstances.
Watch the video below to see all Wylie said in front of the panel:
Wylie’s statements have led BJP to react against its opponent. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that Congress has “lied” and it must “apologize” to the nation. Prasad said:
“The whistleblower has publicly confirmed that the Congress was indeed their client. Rahul Gandhi had been trying to divert attention. Today, he stands exposed. The Congress and Rahul Gandhi must apologize to the nation.”
On the other hand, Divya Spandana, head of social media and digital communications for Congress said that Wylie’s statement is an “absolute lie”. She claimed that Congress has never employed Cambridge Analytica, neither in 2014 general elections, nor for 2019 elections.
Chris Wylie (whistleblower) has misrepresented himself and the company to the committee, and previously to the news media. He admits himself that what he says is speculation: Cambridge Analytica pic.twitter.com/6MArNER905
— ANI (@ANI) March 27, 2018
Meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica has claimed that Christopher Wylie was a part-time contractor who left the company in 2014 and has no direct information of company’s work or practices since that time.