Cambridge Analytica scandal: Government sends notice to data mining firm, seeks reply by March 31

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New Delhi | Published: March 24, 2018 12:39:53 PM

Cambridge Analytica scandal: The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITy) has officially sent a notice to Cambridge Analytica, the data mining and analysis firm who is involved in the data breach at Facebook.

Cambridge Analytica’s office in central London. (Photo: Reuters)Cambridge Analytica’s office in central London. (Photo: Reuters)

Cambridge Analytica scandal: The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITy) has officially sent a notice to Cambridge Analytica, the data mining and analysis firm who is involved in the data breach at Facebook. As per a report by The Indian Express, the notice seeks information if any of the firm’s clients are based out of India. The notice also mentions that if the Facebook profiles of Indian were harvested.

The notice asked Cambridge Analytica to specify the “entities, ”if there are any who may be harvesting and are engaged to “utilise data of Indians.” The notice also specifies that if there are any such firm then how did it collect the data and whether consent was taken from the individuals whose data was used.

What is shocking is that the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, Strategic Communications Laboratories has partnered with Ovleno Business Intelligence (OBI) in India. OBI mentions BJP, Congress and JD(U) as its clients on its website before. However, the website was taken down earlier this week. The notice sent out by the ministry gives Cambridge Analytica the time till March 31 to respond to its query. An official spokesperson said, “The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has issued a notice to Cambridge Analytica. The notice is about the serious breach of propriety and misuse of data which is intended to influence voting behavior has been highlighted.”

He further added that the government is concerned about the developments in the case. He also mentions that the government is committed to ensuring that the fundamental right to privacy, safety, and security of data is protected for every Indian.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Law and IT Minister on Wednesday said that the government would take “stringent action”, including “summoning” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to India, if there is any data theft of Indians reported.

Following this, Ravi Shankar Prasad triggered a political war of words. Prasad accused Congress party of having links with Cambridge Analytica. However, Congress Party denied such allegation and claimed that it is BJP and its ally in Bihar, JD(U), who were engaged in the data firm in elections including the one held in 2014.

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