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Facebook faces more questions from CBI on data theft of Indian users

Shrimi Choudhary/New Delhi 14 Mar 19 | 01:59 AM

The Central Bureau of Inves­tigation (CBI) has sent a second round of questions to Facebook (FB), seeking further information on the alleged theft of data of Indian users of the social networking site. This follows Facebook’s initial replies on the matter to the CBI. 

The agency was not satisfied with the response, which was more about the processes regarding privacy of personal data, it is learnt. 

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The CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) in August 2018 after receiving a reference from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.  

The recent query was raised on some specific points based on the evidence gath­ered by the probe agency. Sources in the know said the questions were around the charges of harvesting personal data of Facebook users without their consent for political purposes. 

An email sent to Facebook did not elicit any response. 

Besides Facebook, the CBI had also sought reply from British consultancy firm Cambridge Anal­ytica and Global Science Research (GSR). In an initial reply, Analytica den­ied the allegations of breaching the data of Indians, said a source.  

The CBI is probing whe­ther Cambridge Ana­lytica allegedly received data from Global Science Rese­arch, for illicit harvesting of personal data by using Facebook. The data analytical firm had earlier also faced allegations that it used personal information harvested from 87 million Facebook accounts to help Donald Trump win the 2016 US Presidential election. 

Last July, Union Law and IT Mini­ster Ravi Shankar Prasad had told Parlia­ment that the case had been referred to the CBI. He had at that point mentioned that user data was illegally acce­ssed by hardware manufacturers who had tie-ups with Facebook. The American social media company had denied any knowledge of misuse of information, including that related to data of Indian users. 

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