London-based data mining firm Cambridge Analytica (CA) has sought one more week to reply to the government’s notice, said official sources. The notice was issued by the ministry of electronics and information technology last month, after reports that CA interfered in election campaigns. The government had asked it to respond by March 31.
Earlier the company was accused of using data on millions of Facebook users without their consent for influencing the US presidential election. The notice sought answers to specific questions, including which entities had engaged it, how it gathered data and whether consent was taken from users. Six questions were listed.
Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had on March 21 warned Facebook to protect the data of Indian users. And, if any social media firm was found to be illegally influencing the election process, action would be taken. The government later issued a notice to Facebook, asking the social media giant to reply by April 7. The notice to Facebook came amid the slugfest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress party regarding use of CA services. The minister had said any attempt by social media websites to influence India's electoral process through undesirable means would not be tolerated.
He added there was enough existing power under the IT Act to take action against companies misusing data.