In what can be termed as a strong message, IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad warned Facebook of “stringent action”, if any attempt was made by them to influence the country’s electoral process.
The minister made it clear that any attempt, covert or overt, by social media, including Facebook, of trying to influence India’s electoral process through undesirable means will neither be appreciated nor be tolerated and if need be, stringent action will be taken, the warning by the Indian government assumes significance as the country is headed for next general elections which are slated for next year.
At the moment, Facebook is in the middle of a thick controversy over a potential breach of user confidentiality. It was reported that Cambridge Analytica, a London-based data consultancy firm, has allegedly been harvesting millions of Facebook users’ personal data to unfairly influence election results which resulted in the winning of Donald Trumps as President of the USA.
Meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica has suspended its CEO amid ongoing investigation
Cambridge Analytica announced it has suspended CEO Alexander Nix pending the results of an ongoing investigation that it improperly accessed 50 million Facebook accounts.
“In the view of the Board, Mr Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation,” the company issued in a statement.
The UK firm describes itself as “a data-driven communications and marketing agency.”
In the recording Nix said that the company could use unorthodox methods to wage successful political campaigns for clients.
He said the company could “send some girls” around to a rival
candidate’s house, suggesting that girls from Ukraine are beautiful and effective in this role.
Cambridge has denied any wrongdoing in the Facebook data scandal. As a result, Facebook said it is looking into forensic audits to investigate Cambridge’s claims.
In the statement, Cambridge added Dr Alexander Tayler will serve as the acting CEO while the independent investigation is ongoing. It has also asked, Julian Malins, QC, will lead the investigation. The company’s board of directors will share the findings publicly in due course.
The UK firm has come under fire in recent days after it was suspended by Facebook for improper access to 50 million Facebook accounts. The company, which has ties to the 2016 Donald Trump campaign, said it had deleted the data in a legal document to Facebook, but the facts have been disputed.
After the recent report, claiming the data breach for the Cambridge Analytica which lead to a huge controversy worldwide. The London-based data consultancy firm has allegedly been using Facebook users’ data to unfairly influence election results for US president, Donald Trump.
Commenting on this Altaf Halde, Global Business Head of Network Intelligence–A Global Cyber Security Services provider said,
“This is not the first time that a data breach has happened and certainly not the last time. When it comes to cybersecurity..there is no such thing as “100% guarantee” or “All steps taken toblock any future data leak incidents”. Having said that, it is very important that governments and private players give the due importance to the data it has of citizens. They should repeat audits every year, if not every six months, as only full transparency will restore trust back in this system, else more bad news is likely to come. To detect frauds that misuse authorized logins, the concerned parties should implement robust monitoring mechanisms and a proper incident response mechanism. It may also be a good idea especially for governments to implement a public bug bounty program and reward researchers who find issues on a much more bigger scale. We still don’t have any data protection laws or privacy rules to avoid such scenario. Though we have many compliances that companies follow for data protection and privacy issues, but, the adoption is not yet reached the stage where we can confidently say, that, we as citizens are protected in case of any privacy issues.”