THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE (ICO) won't get access to Cambridge Analytica's servers until Friday at the earliest after the High Court adjourned the watchdog's warrant application.
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham announced on Channel 4 on Monday night that she would request an "urgent" warrant to enter Cambridge Analytic's London offices after it was revealed that the shady 'analytics' firm harvested information from 50 million Facebook users without their consent.
Denham said at the time that she had requested the warrant after the company failed to comply with her request for information.
Despite beginning its application on Tuesday, the ICO revealed on Thursday that it still didn't have its, er, 'urgent' warrant.
In a statement, an ICO spokesperson confirmed: "High Court judge has adjourned the ICO's application for a warrant relating to Cambridge Analytica until Friday.
"The ICO will be in court to continue to pursue the warrant to obtain access to data and information to take forward our investigation."
No further details were revealed, but Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr reports that the judge granted an extension because - unbelievably - Cambridge Analytica's legal counsel was unavailable.
This is disgraceful. ICO thwarted in attempt to get warrant and seize evidence from Cambridge Analytica. Because - I'm told - judge agreed an extra 24 hours on account of their claim that "legal counsel was unavailable." WTF?https://t.co/ixRC0xIayt— Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) March 22, 2018
These delays are embarrassing for the ICO, but the public nature of them could have been avoided had Denham not taken to live television to announce her intentions to seek a warrant.
It also raises questions as to whether the Commissioner will be able to get its hands on all of the information it needs.
As reported by the Guardian, culture secretary Matt Hancock has suggested that the government will consider further strengthening the ICO's powers to investigate the misuse of personal data.
Speaking in parliament, Hancock added: "If following evidence from this investigation we need to further strengthen those powers, then I am willing to consider that." µ
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