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Congress questions data firm led by ex-Cambridge Analytica employee

Representatives want to know how Data Propria collects and uses people's data.

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The Congress wants to know where new data and behavioral science company Data Propria gets its information and how it uses whatever it collects. Not just because it resembles Cambridge Analytica, but also because it was founded by former Cambridge Analytica employee Matt Oczkowski. Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have sent a letter to Oczkowski demanding to know whether his company is in possession of any data collected by Aleksandr Kogan. If you'll recall, Kogan was the researcher who built the personality quiz app that collected data from Facebook users, which he then sold to Cambridge Analytica.

Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr., Mike Doyle and Jan Schakowsky also want to know if Data Propria has obtained data through third-party Facebook apps like Cambridge Analytica did. They're asking Oczkowski if his company obtained data from internet advertising services and if it's telling consumers how it's using and sharing their information. Finally, they want to know whether the company is using Americans' data for political consulting services.

Earlier this month, Associated Press revealed that two of its reporters overheard Oczkowski saying that his firm is now "doing the president's work for 2020." He denied that Data Propria is involved in Trump's 2020 campaign, though, and told AP that his company changed course since the reporters overheard the conversation.

The Representatives opened their letter with:

"We are deeply concerned with protecting the privacy of consumers. Given news reports indicating that Data Propria is being led by former Cambridge Analytica employees, including yourself, we believe the American people must be assured that Data Propria is not using consumer data wrongfully obtained by Cambridge Analytica or engaging in other inappropriate practices."

They're giving the firm until July 19th to come up with its responses and to brief the committee on its data collection and use policies and practices.

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