Cambridge Analytica gets one more week to respond to govt data breach notice

The ministry of information technology had asked Cambridge Analytica if it was involved in misuse of data to profile Indians and influence their voting behaviour, after media reports broke out that it tried to influence elections by harvesting data of users from Facebook.

india Updated: Apr 02, 2018 22:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Cambridge Analytica,data breach,Facebook data
The nameplate of political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, is seen in central London, Britain March 21. (Reuters Photo)

Cambridge Analytica (CA), the UK-based third party firm at the centre of the Facebook users’ data misuse row, has been given one more week to respond to the ministry of information technology on the charges against it, an official said on Monday.

The ministry had asked CA on March 23 if it was involved in misuse of data to profile Indians and influence their voting behaviour, after media reports broke out that it tried to influence elections by harvesting data of users from Facebook. The social media company declined to comment on the matter. “We have ceded to the request,” the official added but did not divulge any more details about the plea for one more week’s time.

In its notice to CA, the government had asked the firm if it had ever been “engaged in any assignment to utilise data of Indians”. The firm had till March 31 to respond. “The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India, has issued a notice... to Cambridge Analytica, wherein the serious breach of propriety and misuse of data intended to profile and influence voting behaviour has been highlighted,” a government release had said.

The ministry had sent out a separate notice to Facebook last week asking it to clarify if the company or any of its related or downstream agencies that utilise user data from the social media platform were engaged to manipulate elections, according to a separate official statement.

The release said the ministry asked what “proactive measures are being taken to ensure the safety, security and privacy of such large user data and to prevent its misuse by any third party?” and if the personal data of Indian voters was “compromised by Cambridge Analytica” or any other entity. Facebook has till April 7 to respond.

First Published: Apr 02, 2018 20:49 IST