Government proposes to enact legislation on protection data privacy and protection, says Union Minister for Law & Justice, Electronics and Information Ravi Shankar Prasad .He was asked to comment on India Today’s expose pointing out that a number of Indian political consultancies are culling out user-data and selling that information to political parties for target messaging during election campaigns. Stressing the need for a new data protection law in India, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “We are already finalising a data protection act. It is likely to come very soon after widest consultation possible.”Reacting to the expose, Election Commission of India said that action will be taken. “Our government’s commitment to the sanctity and security of data is complete,” lawyer turned politico Ravi Shankar Prasad said. India Today, in a recent investigation, has revealed that a number of Indian political consultancies are also culling out user-data and selling that information to political parties for target messaging during election campaigns. Speaking on the issue, Chief Election Commissioner, OP Rawat said Election Commission is concerned because data leak is risky in the sense that if data is made available to manipulators who can do profiling and indulge in targeted-communication to affect the voting behaviour, it is a matter for worry.CEC further said that the situation of data leak is not grave in India yet. He said that the data leak phenomenon is not to that extent which may be considered catastrophic.”Since it is going to grow, therefore the commission took immediate steps, reviewed the situation, and contacted the social media partners,” he added. The founder of an election management company, provided India Today reporter a trove of data scooped from retail chains, job portals, shopping apps, banks and telecom and DTH firms for unleashing a psychological warfare on voters.
The use of social media to cull out user information which was then used to influence voters came to the spotlight last month after it was revealed that UK-based firm Cambridge Analytica used data from Facebook profiles to influence the US Presidential election.(inputs :India Today)