India asks Cambridge Analytica for information on data

NEW DELHI — India's government on Friday sent a notice to U.K.-based Cambridge Analytica asking whether it has misused data to profile Indians and influence their elections.

The data-mining firm faces accusation of lifting the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission in order to manipulate elections. Authorities in both the United States and Britain are investigating both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

The firm has denied any wrongdoing.

The Indian government also demanded the name of the entities that engaged Cambridge Analytica and the method used by it for possession of data and whether consent was taken from users.

Governing Bharatiya Janata Party and main opposition Congress Party have accused each other of utilizing the services of the company.

The government set a March 31 deadline for the company to respond to its inquiry.

Earlier this week, India's Law and Information Technology Minster Ravi Shankar Prasad warned Facebook of "stringent" action for any attempt to influence polls through data theft, and threatened to summon CEO Mark Zuckerberg, if needed.

Facebook has over 200 million users in India, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

"The government is deeply concerned about such developments and is committed to ensure the protection of the fundamental right of privacy and safety and security of data for every citizen of India. There have also been imputations that such data could also have been used to influence the behavior of individuals," PTI quoted India's Information Technology Ministry said.

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