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IT Minister hints towards data foul play, aims to protect 2019 elections in every way


Concern around data has been continuously increasing. The recent case of the Cambridge Analytica scandal confirmed the importance of data and how it can be used to influence elections.

Of various countries, India was also on the list where the elections were apparently influenced. Since the uncovering of the scandal, the Indian government has committed to take various measures to protect the elections from any foul play.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union minister for Electronics and IT, reiterated on Monday that the government will not accept any attempts to influence elections by any “covert or overt” means. The minister was speaking about the general elections, which is due next year.

About the scandal, he said that the government took up the issue with Facebook and that their CEO has apologised. The government is also pursuing the matter with Cambridge Analytica, who have responded.

Prasad also acknowledged the importance of data protection in India and informed that the process of expansion of data centres is continuing. The National Informatics Center (NIC) is setting up its largest and fifth data centre in Bhopal, with a capacity of 5 lakh virtual servers.

He added that the report on artificial intelligence by the committee has been submitted with recommendations of setting up seven more centres of excellence. While one specialising in fintech will come up in Chennai, one for medical will be set up in Lucknow, another for electronics in Bengaluru, and another for blockchain in Gurugram.

Amidst all the lofty claims of the government, the data security of Aadhaar is still a cause of concern. In the past few years, several cases of Aadhaar data leaks have been reported. However, the government is continuously defending the programme. The government claims that the unique identity scheme has been able to identify ghost beneficiaries and successfully offer benefits to the right people.

The development was first reported by ET.

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