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Facebook urged to clarify whose personal information was passed to Cambridge Analytica

Specialist data protection lawyers in the UK have called on Facebook to urgently clarify whose personal information was passed to Cambridge Analytica and for Cambridge Analytica to reveal exactly what they then did with this information.

Posted on 05 April 2018

The call follows Facebook’s announcement that the personal information of over 1 million Facebook users in the UK may have been passed to Cambridge Analytica.

Lawyers Sean Humber and Chris Haan in the Information Law team at Leigh Day are investigating potential claims for compensation on behalf of those affected for misuse of private information and breach of the Data Protection Act by Cambridge Analytica and / or associated companies.

The law firm have confirmed that they are particularly keen to establish whether personal information may have been used for political purposes. In the past, representatives of Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU have both stated that they worked together during the Brexit campaign.

However, both organisations have since retracted these claims. Sean Humber, a partner and specialist data lawyer at Leigh Day said: “Currently the information that has been disclosed by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica is limited and it is simply not possible for any individual to know if any of their personal Facebook information was passed on to Cambridge Analytica and, if so, what was then done with it.”

The law firm is submitting Subject Access Requests (SAR), under section 7(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998, on behalf of concerned individuals, asking for the following:

(i) details of what information CA hold about them (they are entitled to this in an intelligible form),
(ii) information about the source of the data about them
(iii) the purpose(s) for which the information was used (ie what they did with it)
(iv) information about the recipients of the data (ie who they sent it to).

According to Mr Humber: “Ultimately, people have a legal right to know if Cambridge Analytica hold information about them and, if they do, what information they hold and what they have done with it (including whether they have passed it on to anyone else).

If there is no adequate response to these requests, legal action can be taken to require them to comply.” “If it then becomes clear that CA have obtained personal information about individuals without their knowledge and then used it without having a lawful basis for doing so, then it is likely that those affected will have claims for compensation for misuse of private information and breach of the Data Protection Act.

“Those affected would then also have a right to request that Cambridge Analytica stop using their data and destroy it.”