Indian Government questions Facebook over alleged data leak, wants response by April 7

Facebook is under continual scrutiny by several international organisations and governments after the Cambridge Analytica scandal

The latest to join the probe is the government of India. The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) today issued a notice to social networking giant amid the major data breach. The notice questions about the details on the measures put in place to ensure safety and prevent misuse of personal data. 

“It is felt that there is a need for further information about the data breach from Facebook. Accordingly, a letter has been issued by the Ministry of Electronics & IT on March 28, 2018 to Facebook seeking their response,” Meity said in a statement.

The ministry has raised five questions amid the data breach scandal. Facebook is asked to submit a response on where the personal data of Indian users has failed prey of the data trade by Cambridge Analytica or any downstream agency.

Major concerns on manipulation of electoral process

Cambridge Analytica, the company accused for the controversial data mining operation, according to documents, have worked on Indian political campaigns. It evidently raises concerns by the government that the data may have been misused to manipulate the electoral process. 

Christopher Wylie, the whistle-blower who uncovered Cambridge Analytica’s role, tweeted documents that Strategic Communications Limited (SCL), firm’s parent company, was involved in behavioural research and polling for at least six state elections in India between 2003 and 2012, including the 2009 national election. However, the documents don’t clarify whether the data used was acquired via Facebook or not. 

Since the roots of the scandal are spread over India too, the ministry has asked Facebook to submit a reply whether the Cambridge Analytica or its downstream entities have misused user data “to manipulate the Indian electoral process”.

India is the largest democracy in the world, so it has the largest Facebook user base. It is pretty clear why Indian government has raised these concerns about user privacy and data security. Anyhow, as per the statement, Facebook has been asked to submit response on these queries by April 7, 2018. So we just have to wait for a week to find out what the social media giant has to say on this.