New Delhi, March 24: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued a notice to Cambridge Analytica, the London based firm accused of stealing data from Facebook. It has also asked six questions from the firm and sought responses by March 31, failing which it may entail legal action against the company.

Cambridge Analytica, which worked with US President Donald Trump’s election team, was accused of harvesting millions of Facebook profiles of US voters. The firm has allegedly been using Facebook users’ data to unfairly influence election results by psychological manipulation, entrapment techniques and fake news campaigns. (Also Read: WhatsApp Co-Founder Tweets It’s Time to Delete Facebook)

Here is the list of six questions which govt has asked from the London based firm: 

i)  Whether they have been engaged in any assignment to utilize data of Indians from the above cited breach?

(ii)  Who are the entities that have engaged them for the above?

(iii)  How did they come to be in possession of such data?

(iv) Was consent taken from the individuals?

(v) How such data collected was used?

(vi) Was there any profiling done on the basis of such data?

As per a statement by IT ministry, such a notice was sent out to the accused company as the government is “deeply concerned about such developments and is committed to ensure the protection of the fundamental right of privacy and safety and security of data for every citizen of India”.

“While the government is cognizant of the positive role played by social media in promoting awareness and acting as a tool for social cohesion and empowerment; breach of privacy cannot be tolerated,” the statement further added.

The ministry has also said that CERT-In, the national nodal agency that deals with cyber-security threats, has issued an advisory Note CIAD-2018-0012 which lays down best security practices to be followed by social media users in order to safeguard personally identifiable information on social network sites.