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Italy’s ruling Five Star ‘steals’ voters’ data via Facebook app

DPA
Rome
Italy’s ruling Five Star Movement (M5S) used underhand methods similar to Cambridge Analytica for the mass profiling of voters ahead of 2013 and 2014 elections, according to a media report.
The data harvesting was done via a Facebook app developed by Casaleggio Associati, the shadowy internet company that manages the party’s online infrastructure, the Linkiesta website has written. Its report was published on Wednesday and picked up by Italian national media on Thursday.
The Facebook app was marketed as a way to support the M5S, but it allowed Casaleggio Associati to access users’ personal data, and the personal data of their Facebook friends, Linkiesta said.
Harvested data included email and home addresses, phone numbers, tax codes, and political and religious orientations. Linkiesta published evidence of this.
“Scoop: Casaleggio stole personal data of Facebook users three years before Cambridge Analytica,” the website wrote, quoting a former Casaleggio staffer, Marco Canestrari, as its source.
In a follow-up article on Thursday, Linkiesta quoted a statement from Casaleggio Associati rejecting parallels between its conduct and that of Cambridge Analytica.