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Govt Wants Facebook to Reply Over Data Breach by April 7

The govt has raised five questions in all including whether the personal data of Indian voters and users has been compromised by Cambridge Analytica.

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The Indian government on March 28 wrote to social networking giant Facebook, seeking its response over the user data breach and details of the measures it has put in place to ensure safety and prevent misuse of personal data.

Meanwhile, Facebook said that it is taking additional steps which will be rolled out in coming weeks to put people more in control of their privacy.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) said that a notice seeking details relating to breach of data from Facebook had been sent to Cambridge Analytica particularly with regard to reports in the media about questionable practices attributed to the UK-based firm in their efforts to influence elections.

“It is felt that there is a need for further information about the data breach from Facebook. Accordingly, a letter has been issued by the Ministry of Electronics & IT on March 28, 2018, to Facebook seeking their response,” Meity said in a statement.

When contacted, the Facebook spokesperson said, “We are strongly committed to protecting people’s information. As Mark Zuckerberg has said, we are working hard to tackle past abuse and prevent future abuse. We appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology has raised, as we continue our review of the situation.”

The move came after a global outrage over breach of user data on social networking platform Facebook.

Data mining firm Cambridge Analytica has been accused of harvesting personal information of over 50 million Facebook users illegally to influence polls in several countries.

Facebook’s data breach scandal also sparked a furore in India with IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad warning the firm of “stringent” action for any attempt to influence polls through data theft and threatening to summon Zuckerberg, if needed.

The government has also issued a notice to Cambridge Analytica, seeking its immediate response on whether it was involved in the misuse of data to profile Indians and influence their voting behaviour. Facebook has already issued an apology with Zuckerberg assuring stringent steps to secure user data.

The ministry has raised five questions in all including whether the personal data of Indian voters and users has been compromised by Cambridge Analytica or any other downstream entity in any manner.

The ministry has asked social media major to submit a reply whether the company or its related or downstream agencies utilising Facebook’s data have previously been engaged by any entities “to manipulate the Indian electoral process”.

The letter sent to Facebook said that at present, it has the largest footprint in India in terms of its user base and sought its reply on proactive measures being taken by the company to ensure safety, security and privacy of such large user data and to prevent its misuse by any third party.

“Facebook has been called upon to give their response by April 7, 2018,” the statement said.

A blog post by Erin Egan, VP and Chief Privacy Officer, Policy and Ashlie Beringer, VP and Deputy General Counsel at Facebook said, “…we’re taking additional steps in the coming weeks to put people more in control of their privacy. Most of these updates have been in the works for some time, but the events of the past several days underscore their importance.”

“We’ll also update our data policy to better spell out what data we collect and how we use it. These updates are about transparency – not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data,” the blog post said.

The proposed changes include even control of advertisements that a Facebook user would like to watch, review posts shared or reacted to searches made on the social media platform.

Meanwhile, Whistleblower Christopher Wylie has claimed that SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica had a database of over 600 districts and 7 lakh villages in India which have been used since 2003 elections.

After the startling revelations by whistleblower Christopher Wylie in the Cambridge Analytica data leak issue, trouble for Congress shoots up. Wylie gave the details on the operations of Cambridge Analytica in India in association with SCL group.

Christoper Wylie tweeted: “I’ve been getting a lot of requests from Indian journalists, so here are some of SCL’s past projects in India. To the most frequently asked question – yes SCL/CA works in India and has offices there”

Christopher Wylie also said CA/SCL has offices across India. It has regional offices in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Cuttack, Ghaziabad, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Patna and Pune. SCL India has a database of over 600 districts and 7 lakh villages, which is constantly being updated.

Our micro-level information includes household level demographics, specifically focusing on caste data, linked to online mapping applications. After these disclosures, BJP attacked Congress and demanded an apology but Congress has denied all these allegations.

While deposing before UK Parliament, Wylie said that he believed that one of the clients was Congress. Cambridge Analytica faces charges of data breach.

Reacting to a photo of Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix’s office with a framed Portrait of the Congress Party’s symbol, Union I& B Minister tweeted, “Kya Baat hai @RahulGandhi Ji. Congress ka Haath, Cambridge Analytica ke Saath!”

The Congress has denied it has any links with Cambridge Analytica, but this is further evidence that the party did have some relationship with the Firm accused of stealing facebook data.

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PM Modi Today in Mandla in MP for National Panchayati Raj Day Program

The winners of  Rashtriya e-Panchayat Puraskar and Gram Panchayat Vikas Puraskar Yojana under Sarvasreshtha Panchayat Puraskar Yojana will be felicitated on this occasion.

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MANDLA (Madhya Pradesh): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Mandla in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday on the National Panchayati Raj Day.

He will launch the Rashtriya Gramin Swaraj Abhiyan, at a public meeting, and address Panchayati Raj representatives across the country, from Mandla.

Preparations are underway for the visit with cultural celebrations and performances reflecting the local culture of the region.

Prime Minister Modi will unveil a Road Map for the overall development of tribals during the next five years highlighting the focus on Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas.

In keeping up with the Government’s commitment towards clean, healthy, and electrified India, the Prime Minister would felicitate the Sarpanches of the villages which have achieved 100 percent smokeless kitchens, 100 percent vaccination under Mission Indradhanush, and 100 percent electrification under Saubhagya Scheme.

The winners of  Rashtriya e-Panchayat Puraskar and Gram Panchayat Vikas Puraskar Yojana under Sarvasreshtha Panchayat Puraskar Yojana will be felicitated on this occasion.

Prime Minister’s visit to Mandla on Panchayats Raj Day is an indication of the government’s commitment to bring people in remote regions into the developmental mainstream.

The Felicitation of panchayat heads will prove to be a source of inspiration to the rest of India and highlight the achievements and best practices of these interventions.

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BJP Charges Congress with Disrespecting Constitutional Authorities

BJP charged the Congress party with harming the reputation and independence of the judiciary for political gain.

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NEW DELHI: The BJP on April 23 criticised the Congress Party for attacking the institution of the Chief Justice, charging the party with wanting to create anarchy by making people “lose” faith in the judiciary.

While the Congress Party has alleged that the Rajya Sabha chairman had not followed due process, the BJP hit back saying the Rajya Sabha Chairman’s office is not a post office meant to forward petitions but has to apply its mind judiciously and take a call.

Even after the Rajya Sabha Chairman refused to admit the  motion seeking removal of Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra, the matter has not come to a rest. The Govt and ruling Party have come down heavily on Congress for not respecting the Chairman’s decision… saying that the party has no respect for constitutional authorities.

BJP charged the Congress party with harming the reputation and indepence of the judiciary for political gain. The party said the voters will soon bring in a motion for the removal of the Congress party.

The Congress Party has said it will appeal against the verdict in the Supreme Court. Despite the Congress’ apprehensions, constitutional experts are calling the Congress Party sponsored notice for removal  a politically motivated one.

Experts say the chairman followed due process. It is well within the power of the chairman to disallow the motion after consulting such persons as he thinks fit and after considering materials available to him. It is only after and if the motion is accepted, that a committee of three members is consituted to examine the allegations.

This has happened four times in the history of the country so far… aganist Supreme Court Judge V. Ramaswami, Kolkata High Court Judge Soumitra Sen, Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court PD Dinakaran and Justice JB Pardiwala of Gujarat High Court, but in no case has teh entire porcess been completed. This motion has been disallowed at the intial stage itself.

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Amit Shah Accuses Congress of Trying to Save the Dynasty in the Name of Constitution

Calls the impeachment motion a part of a larger trend to demonize and weaken every institution that seeks to maintain its individual identity.

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NEW DELHI: BJP president Amit Shah has denounced the move by the opposition to move a notice of impeachment motion against the CJI.

In a hard-hitting Facebook post named – Saving the Constitution or Saving Dynasty? – Shah has lambasted the Congress for trying to target institutions of the nation and weaken its democracy.

Touching upon the notice of motion of impeachment he added that judiciary, though trusted by 125 crore Indians, has invited the wrath of the Congress and Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

He called it a part of a larger trend to demonize and weaken every institution that seeks to maintain its individual identity and not kowtow to the dynasty. He said that the Army has also repeatedly been the Congress’ target.

He said that during the UPA years a Chief of Army Staff was targeted and the entire Army was dragged into political slugfests. He also listed Congress’ protests against the CAG and the election commission in the post.    The post makes reference to the imposition of emergency and dismissal of state governments under the Congress rule.

He also accused the Congress of deviating from the constitution given by Babasaheb Ambedkar and of spreading hate and divisions in society and said that Congress is blinded by the disdain for PM modi, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Modi hatred is fast turning into India hatred.

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