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Election Commissioner O P Rawat today voiced concern over the "emerging trend" of manipulation of information to influence voters. Addressing a seminar on service voters, he said "technology, big data firms, analytics are playing in such hands that anything has become possible through all kinds of inputs from different resources." Rawat later explained that there is an emerging trend to use data for propaganda and fake news which influences the mind of the voters "in a particular direction so that they vote in a particular way". He told the gathering that as a countervailing measure, "it is important that we include the voice of everyone, especially people who are guarding our nation". The election commissioner said that if overseas Indian voters and service voters register themselves and exercise their franchise, they may represent three to four thousand voters per constituency. This can to an extent counter those seeking to manipulate data to distort electoral process, he said. "In the emerging threat perception scenario, it is imperative that all of you, the leaders, have to impress upon them that their vote may save the country from these machinations unleashed by all the forces, various technologies, various emerging trends the world over," he told the seminar. Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, representatives from the home and the external affairs ministries, besides officers from the armed forces and central armed police forces were present.
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