Cambridge Analytica issue: IT minister hits out at Congress, issues stern warning to FB
Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in a series of tweets, trained guns against the Congress Party. Questioning the link between Cambridge Analytica, the Facebook-linked company accused of leaking data, Prasad wrote: "Will the Congress Party now depend upon data manipulation and data theft to win elections?"
He alleged that Cambridge Analytica, the agency roped in by Congress to run their 2019 campaign and termed as their 'Brahmastra' in a certain section of media, is accused of using bribes, sex workers to entrap politicians and stealing data from Facebook.
Amid probe by US privacy watchdog over a potential breach of user confidentiality by Facebook, Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government fully supports freedom of press, speech and expression and is for the exchange of ideas on social media.
But any attempt by social media sites, including Facebook, to influence India's electoral process through undesirable means will not be tolerated, he told reporters in Parliament House complex.
"If need be, strong action will be taken," he said.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), an independent government body charged with ensuring that companies abide by their own privacy policies, is looking at whether Facebook violated a 2011 consent decree after media reports alleged that it had handed the data of millions of users to a political consultancy.
Reports had alleged that Cambridge Analytica used data mined from Facebook in the voter research it conducted for President Donald Trump during the 2016 elections campaign.