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India’s two main parties spar over data breach

Congress Party accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official app of leaking data.


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Updated: March 27, 2018

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the country’s main opposition party Congress are both alleging each other of leaking data to a third party without consent.

Following reports of last week’s data leak scandal involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has alleged that the NaMo mobile app – short for Na(rendra) Mo(di) – was leaking data to a US company.

Google Play describes the NaMo app, launched in 2015, as the “official app of the Prime Minister of India”.

In another tweet, Gandhi called Modi, who has 41.4 million followers on Twitter, “the Big Boss who likes to spy on Indians”.

“Hi! My name is Narendra Modi. I am India’s Prime Minister. When you sign up for my official App, I give all your data to my friends in American companies. PS. Thanks mainstream media, you’re doing a great job of burying this critical story, as always,” Gandhi tweeted.

Gandhi started the social media war following a security researcher’s tweets that the NaMo app was sending personal user data to a third-party domain that was traced to a US company.

Gandhi also claimed that the NaMo app tracked locations of users. “Now he wants data on our children.” Gandhi tweeted.

The BJP was quick to counter the allegations. The BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya posted on Twitter: “Congress shares app users’ data with friends in Singapore.”

“Hi! my name is Rahul Gandhi. I am the President of India’s oldest political party. When you signup for our official App, I give all your data to my friends in Singapore,” Malviya tweeted.

In subsequent tweets, he cited bits from the Congress website’s privacy policy.

Last week India’s Law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said there were reports of the Congress Party’s links with Cambridge Analytica. The BJP accused the Congress of compromising national security by roping in the London-based political data analytics firm to run its 2019 elections.

Meanwhile, the Congress’ official mobile app – ‘With INC’ – vanished from the Google Play Store, after the security researcher (who uses the alias Elliot Alderson) alleged that the app was sending users’ personal data to Singapore, the Times of India reported.



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Lamat R Hasan
About the Author: Lamat is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

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