With data protection concerns reaching a fever pitch the world over, the Indian government has asked all social media platforms to take prompt action against fake messages, including tracing their origin. It has also written to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to inquire into the Cambridge Analytica case.
UK-based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica was at the centre of the Facebook data breach row, including those of around 562,000 Indian users. It reportedly stopped responding to letters from the IT ministry after initial responses, prompting the government to order a CBI probe into the matter.
In a response to a calling attention motion in the Rajya Sabha on the misuse of social media platforms and the propagation of fake news causing unrest and violence, Ravi Shankar Prasad, electronics and IT minister, said: “It is suspected that Cambridge Analytica may have been involved in illegally obtaining data of Indians which could be misused. The government has entrusted this issue to be investigated by the CBI for possible violation of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and IPC.”
Further, the minister informed that media platforms have been directed to work with Indian government officials to receive grievances in real time and also to inform law enforcement agencies.
“They (social media platforms) will have to ensure that their platforms do not become vehicles of promoting hatred, terrorism money laundering, mob violence, and rumour mongering,” said Prasad.
The development comes in line with the massive Cambridge Analytica data leak reportedly involving 87 Mn users. The London-based Cambridge Analytica claimed to have licensed data from Global Science Research (GSR) of 30 Mn individuals, not 87 Mn. However, it has reportedly shut down its operations in the UK and will soon file bankruptcy proceedings in the US.