Last week, whistleblower Christopher Wylie announced that data of 50 million Facebook users had been obtained by the digital marketing company Cambridge Analytica via a survey app. Cambridge Analytica supported both Donald Trump’s US election campaign and the Brexit speaker’s Vote Leave campaign. Today Greens/EFA MEPs Pascal Durand and Sven Giegold have requested that the Committee on Constitutional Affairs in the European Parliament (AFCO) invites representatives of Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and the whistleblower Christopher Wylie to a hearing to examine the impact of the massive data misuse on the outcome of the Brexit referendum and on European Democracy.
MEP Sven Giegold, European Parliament rapporteur for transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions, comments:
„The Facebook scandal is a stab in the heart of democracy. It is about much more than breaches of data protection rules; it is about the legitimacy of democratic elections and referenda. It is now the responsibility of democratic institutions to find out to what extent illegal practices have influenced democratic elections. Should it transpire that illegal methods of Cambridge Analytica have indeed influenced the outcome of the Brexit referendum, the legitimacy of the vote would be in doubt. I expect Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to cooperate in clarifying these allegations. Facebook must fully disclose how the platform can be used for political purposes. If business models based on collecting data endanger democracy, then democracy must set strict corresponding rules. Transparency in election campaign management and election financing plays a key role in ensuring the legitimacy of democratic elections“.
The letter that was send to the AFCO Secretariat can be found here: https://sven-giegold.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/E-Mail-AFCO-Sec-Hearing-with-Facebook-Cambridge-Analytica.pdf