Electronics and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took a meeting with his senior officials on the data breach controversy involving social media platform Facebook and Cambridge Analytica (CA).
Facebook admits the data of a little over half a million Indians was compromised, after being improperly shared with CA, a London-based data mining entity.
Last Wednesday, after a Union Cabinet meeting, the prime minister had asked Prasad for suitable action in the matter, so that such things do not recur.
Sources said before deciding what to do, the government was also considering the international implications, as both entities are based abroad. “Legal opinion might be sought,” a source added.
CA is believed to have told the government that it had followed all the rules for doing surveys in this country. A source said more information will be sought from it. Facebook would soon start alerting users whose data might have been compromised. It had said 335 users from India installed an app, which had led to data of 562,120 people being compromised. Facebook has about 241 million active users in this country.
Earlier, CA had sought additional time to respond on the government’s notice, seeking to know if the former was involved in misuse of data to profile Indians and influence their voting behaviour.
Prasad had, on March 21, warned Facebook to protect the data of Indian users and that if any social media entity was found to be abusing the rules to influence elections, penal action would follow.
The government later issued a notice to Facebook, asking it to reply by April 7. The minister had also told Business Standard, there was enough power under the Information Technology Act to ensure action against any company misusing data.