Cambridge Analytica scandal: How India can save democracy from Facebook

Hegemonic incumbents like Google and Facebook need to be tackled with regulation; govt should use procurement power to fund open source alternatives

Sunil Abraham

A data protection law might not directly stop firms from buying data from third-party developers, but it is a great pre-emptive measure to stop unnecessary data collection Photo:istock

The Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light when whistleblower Wylie accused Cambridge Analytica of gathering details of 50 million Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica used this data to psychologically profile these users and manipulated their opinion in favour of Donald Trump. BJP and Congress have accused each other of using the services of Cambridge Analytica in India as well. How can India safeguard the democratic process against such intervention? The author tries to answer this question in this Business Standard Special.
Those that celebrate the big data/artificial intelligence moment claim that traditional approaches to data protection are no longer relevant and therefore must be abandoned. The Cambridge Analytica episode, if anything, demonstrates how wrong they are. The principles of data protection need to be reinvented and weaponized, not discarded. In this article I shall discuss the reinvention of three such data protection

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First Published: Mar 28 2018 | 9:34 AM IST

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