CBI to investigate the misuse of Indian user data by Cambridge Analytica

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CBI to investigate the misuse of Indian user data by Cambridge Analytica


  • The Indian government has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to look into whether Cambridge Analytica misused data from Indian users or not.
  • The investigation will determine whether the Indian Penal Code or the Information Technology Act, 2000 were violated.
  • Notices issued in the past have yielded contradictory statements from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.
After two notices and ignoring the needs the emerging markets, Cambridge Analytica may finally have to answer to the Indian government. In a statement made by Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Law and IT Minister of India, the Indian government has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to look into the misuse of data by the the consultancy firm.

The probe will investigate whether the activities of the British firm violated any clause of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and/or the Informational Technology Act, 2000.

The speculation over the involvement of Cambridge Analytica had led to a war or words between two of the leading political parties in India, the BJP and Congress.
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Implementing change

Aside from looking into the misuse of Indian user data, Prasad also said that the Indian government in looking at ways of strengthening the legal framework so large social media platforms can’t bypass Indian laws. One proposal includes passing a law that requires all social media platforms to post grievance officers in India.

Notices already issued

When the Cambridge Analytica scandal initially broke, the Indian Government issued a notice on 23 March seeking a response on whether or not data of Indian users had been collected by the firm or its associates. The next week, they issued a notice to Facebook as well making an enquiry along the same lines.
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Cambridge Analytica’s response to the notice was ‘cryptic’ and ‘evasive’. It stated that it only collected Indian user’s data from first party research instruments, and nothing from the social networking platform. Facebook, on the other hand, admitted that around 562,000 people in India were potentially affected by the data breach.

In the face of contradictory reports, fresh notices were issued in April seeking more in-depth responses.

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Facebook responded that they will streamline their internal processes regarding the handling of personal data. They stated that the case of Cambridge Analytica was a case of breach of trust. They promised to take various other steps to ensure that such breaches don’t occur.

Ravi Shankar Prasad

Addressing the recent wave of violence brought about by fake news, the IT minister also expressed the importance of platforms to be responsible and implement technological solutions to prevent such cases from occuring again.



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