New Delhi: Cracking the whip on alleged misuse of user data on Facebook, the government issued a notice to UK-based Cambridge Analytica, asking it to give a list of clients and the source of data it had collected. The notice came after reports that political parties had used the data analytics firm during elections.
The IT Ministry has asked Cambridge Analytica – the firm at the centre of Facebook data breach scandal – to respond by March 31 on six questions, including how the company had collected user data, whether consent was taken from the individuals, and how the data was used.
The move assumes significance as the BJP, earlier this week, had questioned links between the Congress and Cambridge Analytica, the data mining firm accused of harvesting personal information from Facebook illegally to influence polls in several countries.
Taking a stern view of reports on the misuse of user data obtained from social media platform Facebook, the IT Ministry in a statement on Friday said “breach of privacy cannot be tolerated”.
“The government is deeply concerned about such developments and is committed to ensuring the protection of the fundamental right of privacy and safety and security of data for every citizen of India,” the ministry said.
The IT Ministry said it had issued a notice to Cambridge Analytica “wherein the serious breach of propriety and misuse of data intended to profile and influence voting behaviour has been highlighted”.
The notice comes just days after Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad warned the social media giant Facebook of stringent action for any attempt to influence polls through data theft.
Prasad had even threatened to summon its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, if needed. “…the notice addressed to Cambridge Analytica seeks an immediate response to the following questions…Whether they have been engaged in any assignment to utilise data of Indians from the above-cited breach. Who are the entities that have engaged them for the above,” it said.
The ministry also questioned the company on how it had come to be in possession of user data and whether user consent had been taken for the same.
The company has also been asked to divulge details of how the data collected was used and whether any profiling was done on basis of such data.
“The intermediaries cited above have been given time till March 31, 2018, to submit their responses on the above issue,” the ministry said.
Referring to media reports of “gross abuse of social media platform to influence the sanctity of polling process”, the ministry said, “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 unauthorised use of data can entail legal action,” it warned.
The statement said that Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has issued advisory laying down security best practices to be followed by social media users, to safeguard personally identifiable information on social network sites.
ED arrests defence agent in VVIP choppers case
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had arrested a defence agent from Delhi in the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP choppers deal case, officials said on Tuesday.
They said Sushen Mohan Gupta was arrested on Monday night by agency sleuths under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Gupta, they said, had allegedly dealt in defence deals, including the AgustaWestland helicopters deal. He will be produced before a special PMLA court here on Tuesday.
Lawyer Gautam Khaitan and alleged British middleman Christian Michel were earlier arrested by the ED in the case.
The ED officials said Gupta’s role in the case came to light on the basis of disclosures made by Rajiv Saxena, who has recently turned approver in the case after he was deported from the UAE and arrested by the ED here.
It is suspected that Gupta had in his possession some payment details in the purchase of VVIP choppers and the link is to be unravelled, they said. He had, hence, been arrested, they said.
On January 1, 2014, India scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force (IAF) over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of paying kickbacks of Rs 423 crore by it for securing the deal.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED have filed multiple chargesheets in the case and named former IAF chief SP Tyagi and his family members as accused besides others. PTI
‘Students forcibly entered residence, confined my wife,’ says JNU V-C
New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar alleged that the varsity students forcibly entered his house and confined his wife inside for several hours.
Seven students have been on a hunger strike since last week in protest against the online system of entrance exam that will be implemented from this academic session.
According to sources, students from Left outfits went to the vice-chancellor’s residence to demand an audience with him since he had not been meeting them. When they went to meet him last week, he offered them sweets rather than addressing their concerns.
The students allegedly barged inside Kumar’s residence while he was away and surrounded his wife. Police were called in and the wives of other university professors rescued her, a professor said.
Kumar’s wife was rushed to a hospital as she was in a state of trauma.
“This evening few hundred students forcibly broke into my JNU residence and confined my wife inside home for several hours while I was away in a meeting. Is it the way to protest? Terrorosing (sic) a lonely lady at home?” Kumar asked on Twitter.
A student from a Left outfit rejected the allegation and said a group of students had gone to meet the vice-chancellor, but they were allegedly manhandled by security personnel.
“We had gone to his residence to meet the V-C. We were manhandled by security personnel and many students have sustained injuries, including JNUSU president N Sai Balaji,” the student said.
Urmila likely to join Congress ahead of LS election
MUMBAI: Bollywood actor Urmila Matondkar is likely to take her political plunge as a Congress candidate in Mumbai, sources told Zee News.
The ‘Masoom’ child actress may be offered a ticket from Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency to up the glamour quotient against Bharatiya Janata Party’s incumbent MP Gopal Shetty.
Sources added that Matondkar is likely to join Congress in the next two to three days.
Her name is at “an advanced stage of consideration by the party leadership” and that a final decision could be announced shortly, political sources told IANS.
Marathi actor Asawari and television actor Joshi Shilpa Shinde have also requested for Congress ticket from Mumbai.
Mumbai’s six Lok Sabha constituencies will vote on April 29 along with 17 others in the state`s fourth phase of polling.
Matondkar started her career as a child actor in Marathi film,
Zaakol (1980), and entered Bollywood in the Shashi Kapoor-Rekha starrer
But, it was the highly-acclaimed Shekhar Kapur-directed film,
Masoom (1983) that catapulted her to fame as a child actress and significantly boosted her film career.
A leading actor of the 90s decade, Matondkar worked in top grossing movies such as Chamatkar, Rangeela, Judaai, Satya and many more. She’s also acted in Marathi and South Indian language films and several television serials.