The Election Commission is reviewing the proposed tie-up with Internet giant Google over security fears and possible misuse of its electoral database.
“EC has received certain representations from various bodies including political parties like the Congress and BJP over the tie-up with Google which have voiced security fears and business ethics issues. So, we are reviewing the matter in detail,” EC sources told HT.
While an agreement is yet to be signed, considerable headway had already been made with the EC already studying the scope of the possible tie-up when the objections started coming in, the sources said.
Under the proposed agreement, the Internet giant was to help EC manage online voter registration and facilitation services before the parliamentary elections in April-May 2014.
That would have involved handing over details of the entire database of 80 crore Indian voters to Google, raising questions if it would violate the Public Records Act (1993) which prevents official records from being stored abroad.
The proposed tie-up sparked concerns by Indian cyber security experts who alleged that there was a possibility that the data collected by Google could be used by the American National Security Agency (NSA) which is under a cloud after allegations of worldwide cyber snooping in the light of revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Google’s services to EC, estimated to cost about Rs 30 lakh, was to be given free of charge with the popular search engine company dipping into its corporate social responsibility (CSR) budget. Google is already offering similar services to about 100 countries globally.