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Govt issues notice to Cambridge Analytica, asks if it misused Indians' Facebook data

In the notice, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asked Cambridge Analytica whether they have been engaged in any assignment to utilize data of Indians from the above cited breach, and who are the entities that have engaged them for the above.

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In   New Delhi     Last Updated: March 27, 2018  | 14:59 IST
Govt issues notice to Cambridge Analytica, asks if it misused Indians' Facebook data

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has issued a notice to Cambridge Analytica in light of the alleged data breach on Facebook. The notice from Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology seeks answers from the data mining firm to questions like how it acquired personal data of social media users and at whose behest, and how was this data utilised. Cambridge Analytica and other intermediaries involved in the data breach have been asked to furnish their replies by March 31.

Cambridge Analytica has been facing flak for its alleged involvement in a data breach on Facebook affecting over 50 million users. The UK-based data mining firm then reportedly used the data acquired from this data leak to help Donald Trump win the 2016 US presidential elections. Later, some of its business associates were found to be involved in elections in India too.

"The fairness of Indian democracy and electoral process is a matter of pride and any attempt to influence the sanctity of the electoral franchise through dubious and questionable means is unacceptable. In particular, all intermediaries and their associates have the legal obligation to maintain security, confidentiality and sanctity of data and any unauthorized use of data can entail legal action," the Ministry said in a statement.

In its notice, the Ministry has asked Cambridge Analytica whether they have been engaged in any assignment to utilize data of Indians from the above cited breach, and who are the entities that have engaged them for the above. The notice also poses questions as to how Cambridge Analytica come to be in possession of such data, was consent taken from the individuals, how was such data collected used, and was there any profiling done on the basis of such data.

In its statement, the Ministry also considered the apology of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg "for the mistakes his company had made in handling data belonging to its users" and mentioned his promises to adopt tougher steps to restrict access to user data.

"CERT-IN has issued Advisory Note CIAD-2018-0012 which lays down security best practices to be followed by social media users in order to safeguard personally identifiable information on social network sites," the Ministry further said.

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