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More questions to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica: Govt sends notice again


In a strong signal to foreign companies dealing with Indian data, the Indian government has served second notice to Cambridge Analytica (CA) and Facebook over recent data breach.

The development comes after the government found their response evasive. The Ministry of Electronics and IT, in a four-page letter to CA, has pointed out the contradiction in the response by both the companies.

“Data concerning Indians is required to be given due sanctity and any manipulation, without consent/authorisation, would entail consequences,” the ministry wrote in the letter.

It also asked Facebook about the steps it plans to initiate to clamp down on any unauthorised use of data or manipulation, pointed out ET report.

Both the firms have been asked to send their response to the fresh queries by May 10.

In an earlier response, Cambridge Analytica said that they do not have any Facebook data of Indian citizens even as the company through its affiliates have worked on a range of projects in India over the past 10 years. Whereas Facebook said that data of estimated 5,62,455 Indians may have been accessed through 335 app installations by Indians.

Globally, data on about 87 million people may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica with almost 80% of users being in the US, it had added, the data was allegedly used to influence the voters’ psychology and maneuvering public opinion towards the Republican Party (Donald Trump). Following the breach, Facebook apologised and experienced public outcry and later called the way that Cambridge Analytica collected the ‘inappropriate data’.

After the reports of Facebook data breaching and influencing electoral processes, the Indian government warned the social networking giant saying it can even summon Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, if found guilty.

Since India is scheduled to elect a new central government next year, Facebook has been under the scanner for manipulating voters’ mindset through vested propaganda. Indian ruling alliance NDA, as well as opposition Indian National Congress, are facing alleged connections with Cambridge Analytica.

Meanwhile, both political parties deny to have been leveraging the London-based political consulting firm and engaging in mud sliding to each other. The ECI had announced a partnership with Facebook in June last year to launch voter registration reminder.

Meanwhile, in second week this month, the Mark Zuckerberg led company came up with the formation of a commission, which is aimed at improving policies and its role in the electoral process.

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