Government sends notice to Facebook, seeks reply by 7th April

The Government of India sent Facebook a show-cause notice. The notice asks whether the personal data of Indian voters and users have been compromised by Cambridge Analytica or any other downstream entity in any manner, and if so, how was it compromised.

The government has asked the company to send its response by April 7.

Data Breach

After reports of Facebook breaching data and influencing electoral processes, the government on March 21 had warned the social networking giant saying it can even summon Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, if found guilty.

Later, there were reports and whistleblowers coming out in public saying Cambridge Analytica, through Facebook, has influenced Indian elections as well and even caste votes were created by them.

In the notice, the government has asked whether the company or its related or downstream agencies utilising its data have previously been engaged by any entities to manipulate the Indian electoral processes. “If any such downstream entity misused data from Facebook, what is the protection available to the data subject?,” said one of the queries in the notice.

It has asked what are the specific steps proposed to be taken by Facebook to prevent any misuse of personal data for potential interference in, or manipulation of the Indian electoral process?

In the notice sent to Cambridge Analytica, six questions were posed to it, including a demand to disclose whether data of Indian users was misused and name the entities that used their services. The company was asked to reply by March 31, and it is yet to respond.

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