Amid the war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress over alleged data leak of Facebook users in India by British company Cambridge Analytica, a photograph has surfaced on social media triggering a fresh debate. The photograph, reportedly clicked in the office of suspended Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, shows a portrait of Congress symbol hand, and was shared on Twitter by Union Minister of Textiles and Information & Broadcasting Smriti Irani.
Sharing the photograph on the microblogging site, the BJP leader targeted Congress president Rahul Gandhi saying “Congress ka Haath, Cambridge Analytica ke Saath! (Symbol of Congress with Cambridge Analytica)”. Smriti Irani has also tagged Rahul Gandhi in her post.
This comes shortly after former Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie claimed that the firm worked extensively in India and was possibly employed by the Congress party. Deposing before the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee (DCMS) in UK, Wylie had said, “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. India’s so big that one state can be as big as Britain. But they do have offices there, they do have staff there.”
He offered to provide the committee “documentation” on India. During his evidence, Wylie also said that his predecessor, Dan Muresan, head of elections at SCL group, had also been working in India before he died in Kenya under mysterious circumstances. He claimed to have heard stories that Muresan, a Romanian national, may have been poisoned in a hotel room while in the African country, PTI reported.
Cambridge Analytica, however, denied his allegations saying “was a part-time contractor who left Cambridge Analytica in July 2014 and has no direct knowledge of the company’s work or practices since that date”.
“Wylie has misrepresented himself and the company to the committee, and previously to the news media. He admits himself that what he says is speculation,” said Cambridge Analytica in response to the claims made by the former employee before a UK Parliamentary committee.