The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday initiated a preliminary investigation against British farms Cambridge Analytica and Global Science Research (GSR) for alleged data breaching of Indian from social media platform Facebook.
There were reports that the Cambridge Analytica had supported US President Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential election in the USA by obtaining information from more than 87 million Indians, associated with Facebook.
After the first stage of the enquiry, the agency will decide whether the allegations against the data mining and analysis firm deserve a full-blown investigation through an FIR or not.
CBI initiates a preliminary inquiry to look into data theft of Indians from Facebook by British firms Cambridge Analytica & Global Science Research. pic.twitter.com/mlg4WUywow— ANI (@ANI) August 8, 2018
According to Prasad, there were also reports that user data was "illegally accessed by hardware manufacturers who had tie-ups with Facebook.
In regard to this issue, Facebook has reported that they are not aware of any misuse of information, including Indian users' information".
Facebook has over 20 crore users in India. The Mark Zuckerberg-owned company, in its clarification, said that the data of about 87 million people - mostly in the US -might have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. The Facebook, however, had promised to take all the necessary steps to ensure that such breaches do not recur in near future.
Cambridge Analytica, on the other hand, gave an initial response that the data of Indians was not breached but this was not in conformity with what was reported by Facebook.
The ministry's move came after Christopher Wylie, who blew the lid off the scam involving mining of Facebook user data to manipulate elections, tweeted details that claim to expose the British consultancy's work in India dating back to 2003.
Wylie claimed that SCL India (formerly Strategic Communication Laboratories, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica) was asked to provide electoral research and strategy for the 2010 Bihar elections for the Janata Dal-United. The JD-U, however, has rejected the claim.