Prasad said that Facebook responded that they will streamline their internal processes regarding handling of personal data.
New Delhi: In a move which could have significant political ramifications in the country, the CBI is preparing to seek clarifications from the authorities concerned as part of its investigation into the illegal data harvesting of Indians from Facebook by British firms Cambridge Analytica and Global Science Research.
The agency, sources said, is preparing to seek clarifications from the representatives of the Global Science Research in connection with its investigation into the matter. The CBI will seek clarifications from others also, they added. The CBI recently initiated a preliminary enquiry against Cambridge Analytica and Global Science Research for alleged illegal personal data harvesting of Indians from Facebook. It is alleged that Cambridge Analytica received data from Global Science Research which employed “illegal means” of personal data harvesting of Indians using Facebook, sources said.
After receiving a reference in this regard from the Centre, the CBI initiated the preliminary enquiry which is normally a first step to decide whether the allegations deserve a full-blown investigation through an FIR or not. Data mining and analysis firm Cambridge Analytica earlier faced allegations that it used personal information harvested from 87 million Face book accounts to help Donald Trump win the 2016 US presidential election. Union law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had told Rajya Sabha last month that the probe will be handed over to the CBI. He had said there were also reports that user data was “illegally accessed by hardware manufacturers who had tieups with Facebook. Facebook has over 20 crore users in India. After the data breach came to light, the IT ministry had in March and April shot off communications to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica seeking clarification on the issue from them.
“Facebook responded that they will streamline their internal processes regarding handling of personal data. They stated that the case of Cambridge Analytica was a case of breach of trust. They promised to take various other steps to ensure that such breaches do not recur,” Mr Prasad had said.
However, he had said, Cambridge Analytica gave an initial response that data of Indians was not breached but this was not in conformity with what was reported by Facebook.