India issues fresh notices to Facebook, Cambridge Analytica over Indians’ data misuse
New Delhi: The government issued fresh notices to Facebook Inc. and Cambridge Analytica on Wednesday seeking responses on misuse of Indians’ data from social media platforms.
In separate letters to both companies, the ministry of electronics and information technology has sought detailed responses to questions related to citizens’ data by 10 May, said a person familiar with the development.
The move comes after the responses sent by Cambridge Analytica to the first notice were deemed “unsatisfactory, cryptic and evasive, the stated intention being to conceal more than to reveal”, the person said.
The government had sent the first notice to Cambridge Analytica on 23 March and to Facebook on 28 March.
“What security architecture is proposed to be created by Facebook, on an urgent basis, so that the data concerning Indians is not pilfered or manipulated again for extraneous purposes including to influence the elections,” the government has asked Facebook in its new letter. It has also sought details of steps taken by the social network in this regard.
Facebook had admitted in its earlier response to the government that data of around 5.62 lakh people in India had been “potentially affected” by the incident.
Cambridge Analytica, on the other hand, said that it had collected data in India only from first party research instruments or opinion surveys and did not hold data of Indian users obtained illegally from Facebook.
The government has now posed five questions to the analytics firm seeking more details on its responses.
Cambridge Analytica is at the centre of the Facebook data breach controversy where it accessed the personal information of more than 87 million users with almost 80% of users being in the US.