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Senate panel to call key Cambridge Analytica figure to testify

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate Commerce Committee panel plans to call a former Cambridge Analytica contractor on the middle of a scandal involving using information from hundreds of thousands of Facebook customers, a committee supply advised Reuters on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO – Aleksandr Kogan, a researcher at Cambridge University who created a character quiz to accumulate customers information on Facebook, provides proof to Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committe in Westminster, London, Britain, April 24, 2018. Parliament TV handout by way of REUTERS

The panel’s subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security will hang a listening to subsequent Tuesday on information privateness dangers that specialize in Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy, and different Facebook Inc (FB.O) companions, the committee introduced Wednesday.

The consultation follows hearings in April with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and can focal point “on the collection and use of social media data, the privacy concerns raised in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal, and potential steps to protect consumers,” the committee mentioned.

The committee will call Aleksandr Kogan, a contractor for Cambridge Analytica, to testify, a supply briefed at the topic mentioned. A legal professional for Kogan didn’t right away reply to a request for remark.

Facebook mentioned in April that the non-public data of up to 87 million customers, most commonly within the United States, can have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. The London-based consultancy’s purchasers integrated President Donald Trump’s 2016 election marketing campaign.

Facebook says Kogan harvested the knowledge through growing an app at the social media community that was once downloaded through 270,000 other folks, offering get entry to now not handiest to their very own non-public information but in addition information from their pals. Facebook mentioned Kogan then violated its insurance policies through passing the knowledge to Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica disputed Facebook’s estimate of what number of customers have been affected.

Cambridge Analytica and its British guardian, SCL Elections Ltd, mentioned in May that they might close down right away and start chapter court cases in each the United Kingdom and the United States after struggling a pointy drop in industry. Cambridge Analytica filed for Chapter 7 chapter in New York closing month.

In April, Kogan, who labored for the University of Cambridge, advised British lawmakers that the entire information he gathered had, to the most efficient of his wisdom, been deleted. He mentioned he would double-check that none remained.

“This has been a very painful experience, because, when I entered into all of this, Facebook was a close ally,” Kogan mentioned. “I was thinking this would be helpful to my academic career and my relationship with Facebook. It has very clearly done the complete opposite.”

Also anticipated to seem at subsequent week’s listening to are John Battelle, who helped discovered Wired Magazine and is a board member of database advertising corporate Acxiom Corp (ACXM.O), and Ashkan Soltani, who was once former leader technologist for the Federal Trade Commission all over the management of President Barack Obama.

Reporting through David Shepardson; enhancing through Jonathan Oatis

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