wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Won’t allow abuse of Indian data by foreign powers or companies, RS Prasad says in Rajya Sabha

“We [the government] shall never allow the abuse of Indian data by foreign powers or foreign companies”, IT, telecom and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said during a short duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha yesterday. Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien had moved the House to bring in electoral reforms and accused social media companies such as Facebook of being “cheat India platforms”, saying that international companies cannot participate in India’s elections. He said that these companies got immunity from intermediary liabilities after the 2008 amendments to the IT Act and urged the government to revisit it.

Issues raised by Derek O’Brien

Data misuse and right to privacy

O’Brien said that his party would soon issue a notice about how certain companies use a “Jarvis-like” technology to misuse government data and target voters. He also questioned the government’s narrative about the increased percentage of women voters in the recently concluded general elections, and alleged that the government targeted women – and gave them gas cylinders – because of the data that was available with them.

He also talked about the Supreme Court’s verdict on privacy in August 2017, which recognised privacy as a fundamental right, and asked what the government had done to ensure citizens’ right to privacy.

Surrogate political adverts

O’Brien also said that “surrogate” political advertisements by political parties was a misuse of citizens’ data. Citing the example of advertisements that sell alcoholic beverages under the guise of mineral water, he said that parties use third parties for free surrogate advertising to target voters.

RS Prasad’s rebuttals

Cambridge Analytica and the Data Protection Bill

Prasad rebutted O’Brien’s by talking about the management of social media by political parties. He said that as IT minister in the previous government, when the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, he personally and publicly told Facebook that he would “take action” and that “we [the government] shall never allow the abuse of Indian data by foreign powers or foreign companies”. He assured the House that the government would bring in the Data Protection Bill soon, as discussions around it were still in progress. He further said that he had sent notices to Cambridge Analytica twice but didn’t hear back from them, and that the CBI is now looking into the matter.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

‘Don’t insult voters’

Prasad added that the opposition shouldn’t undermine or insult Indian voters since they are smart enough to not get influenced by Facebook’s data and wise enough and understand the country’s problems. He didn’t answer O’Brien’s questions on what the government had done to ensure the right to privacy, and about surrogate advertising by political parties.

Written By

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.


In this excerpt from the book, the authors focus on personal data and autocracies. One in particular – Russia.  Autocracies always prioritize information control...


By Jai Vipra, Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy The use of new technology, including facial recognition technology (FRT) by police...


By Stella Joseph, Prakhil Mishra, and Yash Desai The Government of India circulated proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 (“E-Commerce Rules”) which...


By Rahul Rai and Shruti Aji Murali A little less than a year since their release, the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 is being amended....

You May Also Like


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ