The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against two UK-based firms for allegedly illegally harvesting Facebook data of 5.62 lakh friends of 335 Indians who had installed an app created by one of the two firms.

The two firms are Global Science Research Limited, UK represented by Dr Aleksandr Kogan and Cambridge Analytica, UK represented by Mr Alexander Nix.

The CBI conducted a preliminary inquiry on a complaint from the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) and registered the case last Tuesday under Section 120 (B) of IPC, and Sections 66B, 85, 43 (a) read with Sec 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

The CBI inquiry revealed that the founder and Director of Global Science Research Limited had created an app, “thisisyourdigitallife” which was authorised to collect specific data of its users on FB as per their platform policy.

The app illegally harvested additional data of FB users and of their friends.

The inquiry found the company had entered into a conspiracy with Cambridge Analytica during 2014 and passed on the illegally harvested data to it for commercial purposes.

According to the details released by the CBI today, the preliminary inquiry into the case was conducted following a complaint received from the MeitY on 25 July, 2018. Following media reports, the Meity had contacted FB and Cambridge Analytica to find possible misuse for “profiling and influencing elections in India,” the background note on the CBI case said.