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BJP used Cambridge Analytica's services during Bihar, Gujarat polls: Congress

BJP used Cambridge Analytica's services during Bihar, Gujarat polls: Congress

Hours after the Congress's Manish Tewari said the Election Commission should investigate which party had or has links with disgraced firm Cambridge Analytica, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged that the Congress has links with the data analytics firm. "But any attempt, covert or overt, by social media, including Facebook, of trying to influence India's electoral process through undesirable means will neither be appreciated nor be tolerated", Prasad said. The OBI website, which was suspended on Thursday, listed the BJP, Congress and JD (U) as it clients. The India partner is by Amrish Tyagi, son of senior JD-U leader K.C. Tyagi. Were the services of this company used by Congress in the Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and North East elections?

Referring to BJP ministers' and party IT cell's penchant for spreading fake news, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala dubbed as "fake" Prasad's press conference.

Earlier on Tuesday, the head of the BJP's social media unit Amit Malviya told the BBC that the party had "not heard of SCL Group or Amrish Tyagi so there is no question of us working with them".

"These days, there is a lot of news about CA and how it has been involved in data theft, psychometric analysis, data manipulation and subversion of democratic processes".

The Congress returned the fire and accused the BJP of having availed the firm's services in 2010.

IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wants to know how many times did Congress president Rahul Gandhi meet Cambridge Analytica's now sacked CEO mAlexander Nix.

In its verdict on a petition filed by a Maharashtra Government employee challenging the Bombay High Court order, the Supreme Court court said an accused would not be arrested automatically based on a FIR that he or she cast aspersion on a Dalit.

More news: Ashley Young thinks Luke Shaw can still become 'world class'

BJP leaders also pointed a finger on whether Rahul Gandhi's Twitter profile was boosted by Cambridge Analytica.

Poonawalla dismissed the statement made by Surjewala claiming no connection between Congress and Cambridge Analytica.

The CA website also claims that it was hired for the Bihar assembly elections in 2010, when the BJP and JDU fought together.

"If the company does manipulation, why were the BJP and the JD (U) using it?"

He cited reports in newspapers on Congress-Cambridge Analytica connections and claimed that CEO of Ovleno, Indian partner of Cambridge Analytica, contacted him. "What is Cambridge Analytica's role in Rahul Gandhi's social media profile?"

Apart from U.S., the company Cambridge Analytica has also been accused of influencing elections for political parties in Brazil and Kenya. The firm, the Union minister said, was accused of using "sex, sleaze and fake news" to influence elections and asked if the Congress too planned to walk the same path. The government was in touch with the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice of the United States of America to assess the privacy violations of the Indian users, he said. "We will also summon the company (CA) and Facebook to assess the data theft of Indian users and will take strictest action", he said.

Cambridge Analytica has been in the eye of the storm following an investigation by Britain's Channel 4 which alleged that the firm mined personal information of Facebook users for political purposes. "In the wake of recent data theft from Facebook, let my stern warning be heard across the Atlantic, far away in California", said the minister. "We have got stringent powers in the IT Act including summoning you in India".


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