Indian Government Slams Another Notice To Facebook And CA Over Cryptic Responses


The Indian government has sent a second notice to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica(CA) after finding discrepancies between the earlier responses by the two companies during the case of the data breach.


The companies have been issued a deadline until May 10 to answer the additional queries.

The replies were found to be “cryptic and evasive”, the government has sought further responses from the data mining company.

“…It is self-evident that apart from being very cryptic, the unstated intention was to conceal more than reveal,”

said the latest notice to Cambridge Analytica.

The notice also highlighted Facebook has already started to make amends about what has gone wrong in view of its recent privacy regulations and public apology and the onus to come clean is now with CA.

Facebook has already admitted that nearly 5.62 Lakh Indians were “potentially affected” by the data breach incident, however, Cambridge Analytica continues to be in denial to reveal any such data and it still claims that it does not have any Facebook data on Indian citizens.

In the fresh notice, the government has emphasised on the following questions:

  • What kind of data was collected in India?
  • What were the research instruments used to capture such data?
  • Whether the company has harvested any data through third party app?
  • Whether or not mining of such data was done with user consent?

In a media interaction, a senior IT Ministry official aware of the development confirmed that the government is on the move to send out a strong signal to international bodies operating in IT and data platform that any manipulation of data of Indians, in violation of law and the privacy norms, will be viewed “seriously”.

Why the increased concern?

The concern over data breach has been multiplied manifold due to the upcoming electoral events in 2019 and has been largely moved by the example of the alleged involvement of data mining in the US elections of 2016.

For this reason, the government has starkly asked CA if the data collected for “research” has been used for any election-related work. The government has also sought information about the entities working under CA along with the details of their directors.

The government has also asked the British company to share the templates that were used in signing the non-disclosure agreements for Indian assignments.

The government has asked the companies to list out security architecture proposed to be created “so that data concerning Indians are not pilfered or manipulated again for extraneous purposes including to influence the elections”.

It has also sought information from Facebook regarding its privacy policy, the extent of data collected, consent mechanism, authorisation mechanism that allows apps to collect user data and reasons for failure to check the past breach.

The notice has asked about the proceedings that the social media giant has undertaken against those who have violated Facebook’s policies of privacy.

Facebook is currently facing probes in various markets in light of further possible data breach. Facebook had earlier this month announced that it is introducing a third-party fact-checking programme in India to combat the spread of “false news” on its platform, starting with a pilot in Karnataka, which goes to polls next month. Facebook is also going along the EU’s GDPR policies to abide by governments that are attempting to strengthen data security their countries.

Also Read: Facebook Lend An Ear, Telegram Gets Banned In Russia For NOT Leaking Out Data