Government ‘examining’ FB and Analytica’s responses on the data breach issue

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After both Facebook and British data firm Cambridge Analytica have responded to government’s notice, it is in the process of “examining” the responses on the data breach issue, a top official of ministry of electronics and IT said on Tuesday.

The government is also keeps a close watch on how the global developments are unfolding on this matter. Facebook in its response to the government had said that “a total of 562,455 people in India” were potentially affected by the unauthorised sharing of data with UK-based Cambridge Analytica. On the other hand, Cambridge Analytica told the government last week that it has not used any personal data of Indian users mined by Cambridge researcher Aleksandr Kogan from social network Facebook. It also said it has done surveys in India and followed proper guidelines and procedures for that and that it doesn’t have data of Indians (illegally obtained through Facebook).

“The responses are being examined in the context of global developments,” the official said.

Meanwhile, Facebook has partnered with BOOM, an independent fact checking initiative for a pilot in Karnataka to check the “false news” on its platform. Assembly elections in Karnataka will be held on May 12. In a blog, Facebook said the programme in India aims “to fight the spread of false news on our platform”. BOOM will review English language news stories flagged on Facebook, check facts, and rate their accuracy, it said. Facebook is running similar initiatives in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines and the US.

Facebook has admitted that globally, data on about 87 million people may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica with almost 80% of users being in the US. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has since been summoned for congressional hearings by the US government where he had to face a barrage of tough questions.

In India, the allegations that Cambridge Analytica and its Indian affiliate Ovleno Business Intelligence were hired by political parties to profile voters using their Facebook data with an aim to influence the outcome of elections had led to both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress trading charges against each other.

Source: Economic Times