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Election Commission finds no vulnerabilities in Facebook association

However, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat has asked EC officers to suggest measures to prevent data misuse similar to the kind reported in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi |
Updated: March 24, 2018 7:54:25 am
Meghalaya, CEC OP Rawat, Chief Election Commissioner, Meghalaya elections 2017, Meghalaya polls, India news Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat

In a meeting held on Friday to review the Election Commission’s association with Facebook, poll officers are learnt to have told the three commissioners that the EC’s engagement with the social media giant was limited and doesn’t leave the Commission vulnerable.

However, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat has asked EC officers to suggest measures to prevent data misuse similar to the kind reported in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. “Our officers will interact with government agencies and officers of the IT Ministry to understand the gravity of the data breach witnessed in the US and its affect on their elections and suggest preventive measures that can be adopted to avoid similar problems in our country,” Rawat told The Indian Express.

Read | CEC O P Rawat concerned over data breach, Election Commission to review its relationship with Facebook

As first reported by this newspaper on Friday, the EC had taken a grim view of the Facebook data breach that was allegedly exploited to influence polls across the world and decided to review its association with the social media website.

The EC has partnered with Facebook on at least three occasions in the last year to encourage Facebook users, especially youths, to register themselves as voters. Last year, as part of one such collaborative effort, the social media platform sent voter registration reminders in 13 Indian languages to all its users in the country for four days, from July 1 to 4. Nasim Zaidi was then CEC.

Read | Govt sends query to Cambridge Analytica: Did you harvest Indian user data, get consent?

EC’s latest partnership with Facebook was in January this year. The Commission had announced a National Voters’ Day pledge feature on the social media platform. “On the 8th National Voters’ Day, the EC is happy to join hands with Facebook for one of the largest voters’ pledges. Through the ‘pledge’ let us renew our commitment to the cause of free, fair, peaceful and participative elections,” Rawat had said in a statement on January 25.

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