LONDON (AP) — Cambridge Analytica’s ex-CEO, Alexander Nix, has refused to testify before the U.K. Parliament’s media committee, citing British authorities’ investigation into his former company’s alleged misuse of data from millions of Facebook accounts in political campaigns.
Committee Chairman Damian Collins announced Nix’s decision a day before his scheduled appearance but flatly rejected the notion that he should be let off the hook, saying Nix hasn’t been charged with a crime and there are no active legal proceedings against him.
“There is therefore no legal reason why Mr. Nix cannot appear,” Collins said in a statement. “The committee is minded to issue a formal summons for him to appear on a named day in the very near future.”
Nix gave evidence to the committee in February, but was recalled after former Cambridge Analytica staffer Christopher Wylie sparked a global debate over electronic privacy when he alleged the company used data from millions of Facebook accounts to help U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Wylie worked on Cambridge Analytica’s “information operations” in 2014 and 2015.
Wylie has also said the official campaign backing Britain’s exit from the European Union had access to the Facebook data.
Cambridge Analytica has previously said that none of the Facebook data it acquired from an academic researcher was used in the Trump campaign. The company also says it did no paid or unpaid work on the Brexit campaign. The company did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The Information Commissioner’s Office said Tuesday that it had written to Nix to “invite him” to be interviewed by investigators. The office is investigating Facebook and 30 other organizations over their use of data and analytics.
“Our investigation is looking at whether criminal and civil offences have been committed under the Data Protection Act,” the office said in a statement.
Nix’s refusal to appear comes as the seriousness of the British inquiry becomes more evident.
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