Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower who brought to light the Facebook/ Cambridge Analytica scandal has revealed SCL India’s operations in the country.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the London-based whistleblower said he was responding to requests from several Indian journalists. He wrote, “I’ve been getting a lot of requests from Indian journalists, so here are some of SCL’s past projects in India.”
He attached three adjoining infographics that detail SCL’s Indian operations and the year in which they took place. These include elections in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan in addition to the 2009 Indian General Elections.
He also said, “To the most frequently asked question- yes SCL/CA works in India and has offices there. This is what modern colonialism looks like.”
The document elaborating SCL India’s operation reads, “SCL India has a database of over 600 districts and 7 lakhs villages, which is constantly being updated. Our micro-level information includes household level demographics, specifically focusing on caste data, linked to online mapping applications. Our services help clients to identify and target key groups within the population to effectively influence their behaviour to realise a desired outcome. We provide our clients with the research to develop and disseminate the right messages, from the right sources, using the right communication channels.”
In one section titled 2007 Kerala, West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, he revealed, “In 2007, SCL India was asked to undertake a research communication campaign to support a trans-national programmer for countering the Non-Desired Behaviour (NDB) of recruitment into, and support of, violent Jihadism. The project focusses on ancillary populations as opposed to perpetrators of violent Jihadism themselves and required in-depth motivational understanding of the populations of six states.”
Strategic Communication Laboratories or SCL is the parent company of Cambridge Analytica that was reportedly involved in harvesting the data of 50 million Facebook users.
The earliest instance of the company’s association with India, according to the document is the 2003 Rajasthan state elections.
I've been getting a lot of requests from Indian journalists, so here are some of SCL's past projects in India. To the most frequently asked question - yes SCL/CA works in India and has offices there. This is what modern colonialism looks like. pic.twitter.com/v8tOmcmy3z— Christopher Wylie (@chrisinsilico) March 28, 2018
Apart from Janata Dal(United), Wylie does not name any national or state party involved, restricting his reference to “major party” or a “major state party.”
Appearing before the UK parliament on Monday, Wylie had said in response to a British lawmaker’s question on SCL’s involvement in India, “I believe their client was Congress but I know that they've done all kinds of projects, both regional- I don't think they've done, I don't remember a national project but I know regionally.”
This prompted leaders of both parties into a mudslinging competition.