Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday alleged that the Congress had liaised with data analytics company Cambridge Analytica, which is in the eye of the storm over misuse of data sourced from Facebook.
"Mr Mark Zuckerberg, You better note the observation of IT Minister of India". If the data of the Indians is shared through facebook, we have the stringent IT Act. "We have got stringent power in the IT Act, we shall use it, including summoning you in India", the minister threatened. Amid a probe by the United States privacy watchdog and in United Kingdom over a potential breach of user confidentiality by Facebook, Prasad said the Indian government fully supports free exchange of ideas on social media but any attempt by social media sites, including Facebook, to influence India's electoral process will not be tolerated.
"My question to Congress party is whether to win elections, Congress will depend on data manipulation and theft of data. Mr. Rahul Gandhi should explain the role of Cambridge Analytica in his social media profile", Prasad asked.
Facebook is now facing the brunt after Cambridge Alanytica, a British consulting company, has been accused of harvesting private data of close to 50 million Facebook users without their consent.
In wake of the Facebook data breach, the BJP and Congress have started to trade charges which the Modi government saying that Congress plans to use the Cambridge Analytica frim's service for the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
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Today, amid all the furor surrounding the data breach, Cambridge Analytica has suspended their CEO, Alexander Nix.
Later in the day, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told neither the party nor its president Rahul Gandhi used the services Cambridge Analytica. "Company boasts of having influenced elections in Nigeria, Kenya, Brazil, also in India", RS Prasad alleged.
"In this report on Cambridge Analytica there is an ostensible claim by them or the jurno's that they have worked on Indian elections/campaigns".
The minister, in that regard, questioned the Congress about any malpractices that may have been carried out. He also alleged that the BJP-allied parties used the firm's services in 2010.
Facebook is facing the heat after Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting company, was accused of harvesting data of up to 50 million Facebook users without permission and using the data to help politicians, including US President Donald Trump and the Brexit campaign.