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Data Privacy Arises In India as security is at an all-time low!

Last updated on April 5, 2018 by Dotsquares

Following the uproar over privacy which engulfed America a few weeks ago, the Indian government is now facing similar situations against the exploitation of users’ private data. The furore was raised when a French cyber security researcher Elliot Alderson tweeted on March 24th about how the Indian Prime Minister’s official app NaMo harvests and sends user’s personal data to a US-based data analytics company, Clever Tap.

In the series of following tweets by the researcher, it was stated that the app is currently collecting a lot of user information like email, photos, etc., allegedly without their consent, and is sending it over to a third-party domain in.wzrkt.com. The domain is traced back to the aforementioned data analytics company, which claims to be an app engagement platform with the “world’s most powerful segmentation engine”.

In answer to this, the ruling party BJP has stated that the app is using the most basic of the information, similar to other apps, in order to make the user experience more personalised. However, the privacy policy of the app was ‘quietly changed’ by the government for which Alderson has also provided both cached and updated versions.

This unfolding of events has attracted quite a lot of criticism from media and opposition party INC, whose head, Rahul Gandhi, has made a mocking tweet of the revelation. He made another tweet a day afterwards stating how the government is ‘forcing’ 13 lakh NCC cadets to download the app so that they can ‘spy’ on their data as well.

In answer to Mr Gandhi’s tweet, Amit Malviya has accused him of technological illiteracy, also replying with a mocking tweet that his party is following the same route to ensure better user experience with their official app.

The executive director of a non-profit research organisation- Centre for Internet and Security and Society, Sunil Abraham, has also made a public statement that “Privacy is definitely a political issue. Political parties are reacting not because they will get into trouble under the law. They are reacting because they are afraid their supporters may not like it.”

Other than the app, the questions have also been raised on the use of the data collected by the government for UIDAI. Allegations against Aadhar have always been in the news, with Alderson making revelations about its data leak from time to time. It seems like the Indian government is in for yet turmoil for ensuring data protection, before it can ensure the seamless execution of its Digital India Program.

Resources:

https://www.ft.com/content/896cf574-31c0-11e8-b5bf-23cb17fd1498

https://kyc360.com/news/data-protection-india-pm-modi-app-sparks-social-media-furore/

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/alphons-compares-aadhaar-with-us-visa-scan-sparks-row/articleshow/63457351.cms

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-43538178

http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/social/narendra-modi-android-app-sharing-personal-information-of-users-without-consent-report-5109592/

https://cis-india.org/internet-governance/news/financial-times-march-28-2018-narendra-modi-personal-app-sparks-india-data-privacy-row