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Telangana government denies storing any voter data as part of its e-voting pilot project

The state government’s experiments with remote voting had sparked concerns of data abuse among privacy advocates.

The Telangana government clarified that it did not store any voter data when it conducted a trial of an e-voting project that harnesses facial recognition and blockchain to allow users to vote with the help of a smartphone. During a webinar, while responding to a question by MediaNama, Rama Devi Lanka, the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Emerging Technologies wing of Telangana's IT department said that the department used voters' data from Election Commission of India for authentication. "We have the voters data stored in voters database; we are just taking the voter number and authenticating the voter and, after he or she votes, it is stored on blockchain."— Rama Devi Lanka, Telangana IT Department The webinar was focused on the kind of AI projects that are currently underway in Telangana, and saw participation from Telangana's IT Secretary Jayesh Ranjan as well as officials from the IT industry body Nasscom. India still does not have proper data protection or privacy legislation in place that regulates the usage of facial recognition. In addition to that, the Pegasus spyware attack drove home the message that smartphones, be it iOS or Android, are not necessarily foolproof when it comes to thwarting cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Keeping in mind that a vote must be anonymous in India, how technologies that are being deployed for the e-voting process cope with cybersecurity threats remains to be seen. What is Telangana's e-voting project? In October 2021, the Telangana government initiated a dry run of a smartphone-based e-voting solution…

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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

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