Damian Collins, a Conservative MP leading an investigation into Cambridge Analytica’s activities, told CNN that the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had discovered that some of the systems linked to the probe had been accessed by IP addresses linked to Russia and other countries.
“I think what we want to know now is who were those people and what access did they have, and were they actually able to take some of that data themselves and use it for whatever things they wanted,” Collins said.
Facebook previously revealed that the Trump campaign research firm Cambridge Analytica had obtained the personal data of tens of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge or consent via the use of a third-party app developed by Aleksandr Kogan, a professor at Cambridge University.
“[T]here will be a lot of interest now to see to what extent were people in Russia benefiting from the work Kogan was doing with his colleagues in Cambridge in the U.K.,” Collins added. “So is it possible, indirectly, that the Russians learned from Cambridge Analytica, and used that knowledge to run ads in America during the presidential election as well.”
In a statement to CNN, the ICO confirmed that “some of the systems linked to the investigation were accessed from IP addresses that resolve to Russia and other areas of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States].”
“I don’t know what could have happened to the data once I handed it over to Cambridge Analytica so it is difficult for me to speculate,” Kogan said in response to Collins’s announcement. “It could have nothing to do with the Russian authorities, it could just be someone checking their mailbox.”
The Hill added:
Cambridge Analytica, which is now defunct, has stated that none of the data was used in its activities during the 2016 election. Despite this, the firm is now ensnared in the ongoing special counsel investigation into ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.