British data regulator granted search warrant to raid Cambridge Analytica offices and seize its servers

alexander nixCEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, speaks during the Web Summit, Europe's biggest tech conference, in Lisbon, Portugal, November 9, 2017.Pedro Nunes/Reuters

Britain's data regulator has obtained a warrant to raid Cambridge Analytica's London offices and seize its servers.

The warrant came after a series of reports, led by the Guardian and Observer newspapers, found that the data analytics company improperly collected 50 million Facebook users' personal information without consent.

The warrant was granted on Friday night. News of its approval was reported on Twitter by journalists at the courthouse including Sky News' Tom Cheshire and The Register's Gareth Corfield.

Alexander Nix, the company's CEO, was also secretly filmed offering to entrap politicians with bribes and sex workers on behalf of a client and boasting about its role in Trump's 2016 election victory. He was suspended from his role on Tuesday night.

Elizabeth Denham, the UK Information Commissioner, sought a warrant for CA's systems on Monday evening after the company previously didn't respond to her demand for its records and data earlier this month.

Denham told Sky News on Tuesday that her search of CA's systems were "one strand of much larger investigation into the use of personal information for big data politics."

elizabeth denham information commissioner ukElizabeth Denham, Britain's information commissionerInformation Commissioner's Office

Facebook's own investigators, digital forensics firm Stroz Friedberg, were also at Cambridge Analytica's offices on Monday night - before the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

They were conducting " a comprehensive internal and external review that we are conducting to determine the accuracy of the claims that the Facebook data in question still exists," Facebook said on Monday.

However, they agreed to stand down at the ICO's request, as after being told their search "would potentially compromise a regulatory investigation."

Theresa May on Wednesday said that the scandal is "clearly very concerning," and called on Facebook and CA to comply with the ICO's investigation.

This story is developing...

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