India to seek more information on Facebook data breach
New Delhi: The information technology ministry plans to seek more information from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica on data pertaining to Indians before finalizing what action to take in the data breach case. The ministry will soon be sending out queries, a person familiar with the plans said.
“There are several issues which will have to be further addressed by both the companies so that the government can take its next line of action. For instance, we will be seeking clarity from Facebook on what kind of consent was taken from the users who installed the app which collected data for Cambridge Anaytica,” the person said. Cambridge Analytica on the other hand, will have to justify how it got data of Indian users if it did not obtain it from Facebook, added the person.
To be sure, the government sent out a set of questions to both companies immediately after the data breach case came to light. Queries to Cambridge Analytica and Facebook were sent on 23 March and 28 March, respectively.
The move to seek further clarity on the issue from the companies comes after the government received contradictory responses from the two companies.
Last week, US-based social media giant Facebook informed the government that “only 335 people” in India were directly affected through the installation of an app and another 562,120 people were “potentially affected” as Facebook friends of those users.
According to Facebook, at no time did it agree to Cambridge Analytica’s use of any Facebook user data that may have been collected by this app, including with respect to users located in India. It also said that the collection of data from its platform was an explicit violation of its platform policies. Facebook has over 200 million users in India.
However, Cambridge Analytica in its response to the Indian government claimed it did not hold data of Indian users obtained illegally from Facebook, an Economic Times report said on Saturday.
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