Cambridge Analytica row: Indian arm shuts website

The British data analytics firm uses predictive analytics and behavioural sciences to map trends based on user data, thus influencing voters.

Published: 22nd March 2018 06:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2018 08:23 AM   |  A+A-

A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen in front of a displayed stock graph in this illustration taken November 3, 2016. | Reuters

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: With the row over Cambridge Analytica snowballing into a major political slugfest on Wednesday, the India liaison of SCL Group, Ovlene Business Intelligence, pulled down its website.
SCL Group is the parent company of Cambridge Analytica.  Ovlene director Himanshu Sharma reportedly removed the portion mentioning his work for political parties from his Linkedin profile.

READ HERE | BJP, Congress spar over Cambridge Analytica's use to influence elections

Cambridge Analytica has been accused of procuring the personal data of nearly 50 million Facebook users without their consent and sharing the details with political parties to help them secure electoral benefits.

The British data analytics firm uses predictive analytics and behavioural sciences to map trends based on user data, thus influencing voters. It had also worked with Donald Trump during his US Presidential election campaign in 2016.

On its website, Cambridge Analytica says it had helped a party in the 2010 Bihar elections and the party had emerged as the single largest one. “In 2010, Cambridge Analytica undertook an in-depth electorate analysis for the Bihar assembly election. The contract included identifying swing voters for each of the parties and measuring their level of electoral apathy, among other things. Our client achieved a landslide victory, with over 90 per cent of the total seats targeted by being won,” the website said.

In 2010, the British firm was not registered and its operations in India were run by Ovlene, a firm headed by JD(U) leader KC Tyagi’s son Amrish Tyagi. After the news of Facebook data theft emerged, the Ovlene website has been non-operational.

On its website, Ovlene had listed the Congress, the BJP and the JD(U) as its clients.  The Ghaziabad-based firm, after being registered as Strategic Communications Laboratories Pvt Ltd in India in 2013, reportedly contacted the BJP and the Congress ahead of the 2014 general elections but failed to work out a deal. 


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