Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal United has sought an explanation from its senior leader KC Tyagi in the ongoing Facebook data leak scam. On Thursday, media reports said that Tyagi’s son, Amrish, is the owner of Ovelina Business Intelligence (OBI), the Indian associate of Cambridge Analytica, which is under investigation over allegations stealing the data of over 50 million Facebook users. A media report said that OBI was working in association with SCL Group, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica. Together the two companies had formed a company— SCL India.
A number of media reports claimed on Wednesday that OBI had listed JDU, Congress and the BJP as its clients on its website. The development comes a day after a major row erupted after BJP and Congress traded charges over hiring the services of controversial data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica.
Addressing a press conference, BJP accused Congress of “data theft” to woo voters ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls. On the other hand, the opposition party hit back alleging that the “BJP’s factory of fake news has produced one more fake product”. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also addressed a press conference and accused BJP of hiring the services of the firm’s Indian arm in several elections, including in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
The war of words between the Congress and the BJP came in the backdrop of Facebook’s admission of a possible data breach. Facebook said that Cambridge Analytica, a tech firm with branches all over the world, used data that had been collected from 50 million users without their consent.
The BJP cited several media reports which claimed that the company would work for Congress chief Rahul Gandhi ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls. Speaking to the media, the IT minister asked Gandhi how many times the Congress chief had met Cambridge’s now sacked CEO Alexander Nix.
The BJP also claimed that that illegal use of people’s data from social media could turn out to be the Congress’ “biggest scam”. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that the government would launch a probe into the matter. “Stealing data from social media is your (Congress) weapon. Cambridge Analytica is now ‘Congress Analytica’,” Patra alleged.