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India


BJP questions Cong, Rahul on business links with Cambridge Analytica

BJP questions Cong, Rahul on business links with Cambridge Analytica

New Delhi, Mar 21 (UNI) The BJP on Wednesday slammed Congress for its alleged complicity with organisations like Cambridge Analytica and wanted to know whether the grand old party has enlisted the services of the controversial company for its election campaign in Karnataka and for the general elections due next year.

"Why Congress develops love for these organisations," BJP leader and Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

Referring to global media reports that Cambridge Analytica has "claimed to have influenced" elections in various countries including the United States, Kenya and Nigeria, the BJP leader wanted to know: "Kya Congress party ney inse koi data ka sauda kya hae (Whether Congress party has done some data trade with this company)".

"Our asking this question is relevant as elections are round the corner in Karnataka. We had elections in Gujarat also....Now the onus is on Congress to tell whether it has enlisted the services of this company in the past and will it take their service in Karnataka. These are serious questions," he said.

Mr Prasad, also the Union Law and IT Minister, went on to say in the same breadth the Modi government takes these issues very seriously and wondered "so far Congress party has not responded".

"This issue is going on for last three days whether the Congress party's liassion with Cambridge Analytica is continuing or not," Mr Prasad asked.

He said the recent developments wherein the role of data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica has created uproar worldwide, relates not only to the functioning of a company, all these also relate to "national security and fairness of the election system".

"As IT and Law Minister of India, let me make it very very clear, we fully support freedom of press and freedom of speech and free exchange of ideas on social media, but any attempt -- covert or overt -- on social media including, Facebook, and trying to influence India's electoral process through undesirable means will neither be appreciated nor tolerated," Mr Prasad said.

On this backdrop he posed a brief questionaire for Congress party and these include: "Will Congress party now depend upon data manipulation and theft to woo voters?".

"The Congress party also needs to clarify whether the methodology adopted by the company - sex- sleaze and fake news will be adopted by Congress as well and influence the voters," the Minister asked.

He further said the principal opposition party also ought to clarify what role the controversial data mining firm has played in supporting the 'social networking' team of the Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

"Let Mr Rahul Gandhi explain, of late he is quite active on social media. What is the role of Cambridge Analytica in the social media provider of Rahul Gandhi," he said.

The Minister also cautioned Facebook chief Marc Zuckerberg against any attempt of 'data theft or abuse' of 20 crore Indians - who are on social network site - and said any such attempt will not be tolerated and that he could be even "summoned" in India.

"Mr Marc Zuckerberg you better note, if any data theft or abuse of data is done by using the Facebook system this shall not be tolerated. We have stringent power under the IT Act including summoning you in India," the Union IT Minister Mr Prasad said.

UNI DEVN SNU 1458

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