Cambridge Analytica Shutting Down Following Facebook Breach Backlash

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During a Wednesday conference call with its employees, SCL Group, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, stated that it would be closing all its US based offices, according to a report from Fox News.

Executives also have been facing hard questions from employees, like whether Facebook should be offering political advertising at all. The last date for response is May 10. "Businesses like Facebook must take significant steps to better protect their users' privacy and personal data". In its statement, the company said it has "unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully".

Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica in light of allegations that it had improperly harvested personal data from as many as 87 million Facebook accounts and used the material in Donald Trump's presidential election campaign. During an interview, however, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, made mention of a paid version, saying if users wanted to completely opt out of ad tracking that they would have to pay for it. Bloomberg's source does not offer specifics on whether the ad-free option would just remove ads or if it would actually allow users to opt-out of Facebook sharing their personal information with advertisers altogether.

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The move impacts all offices of both companies worldwide.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have until May 10 to respond to notices issued by the government of India. The investigation is ongoing.

The U.K. Information Commissioner's Office said Cambridge Analytica's demise won't stop its inquiry into the company's practices.

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Shutting down Cambridge Analytica does not, however, seem to be the end of the road for the data analytics group. "We will be examining closely the details of the announcements of the winding down of Cambridge Analytica and the status of its parent company", it said in a statement.

Damian Collins, the chair of the U.K. Parliament's media committee, told Sky News that he was "alive to the risk" that the company might try to rebrand itself.

The company is just rebranding, according to tech news website Register.com, which said that the United Kingdom official registrar of businesses and organizations, Companies House, lists an active company called Emerdata Limited, which is headquartered at the same offices as SCL Elections, the political arm of the company, and is run by the same individuals. Emerdata could be used for a rebranding of Cambridge Analytica and the SCL Group, according two people with knowledge of the companies. Dr Alexander Taylor, acting CEO of Cambridge Analytica, was appointed a director of Emerdata on March 28.

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