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India's Election Commission Calls Facebook Data Breach Row as Mere 'Aberration'

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Despite a raging debate in India’s political circle over the alleged breach of user data by Facebook, the country’s election-conducting body – the Election Commission of India (ECI), has clarified that it is not going to replace Facebook as its social media partner.

New Delhi (Sputnik): OP Rawat, India's chief election commissioner, said on Tuesday that the commission does not find enough reason to stop the use of social media just due to instances of "aberrations."

"Any aberration won't stop the use of modern technology… banks fraud has taken place, but we don't stop banking," Rawat said while announcing the schedule of assembly polls for the southern state of Karnataka.

Since the revelation of data harvesting by the British firm Cambridge Analytica through Facebook, it was widely speculated that ECI may stop using Facebook for election awareness campaigns. On Tuesday, when reporters asked if Facebook would continue to be the ECI's social media partner, Rawat categorically said, "It is. We have a Facebook page."

Nevertheless, the ECI has said it is taking steps to curb the possibility of any kind of data breach or adverse impact on Indian elections. The ECI has also developed a "comprehensive, robust and reliable public grievance redress system" to provide a common platform for all complaints, grievances, concerns, and suggestions for the voters. 

"A mobile app shall also be made available for the people so that they can submit complaints with photographs/videos on the common platform," Rawat said.

READ MORE: Israel Investigating Facebook Amid Data Leak Incident With Cambridge Analytica

Meanwhile, the quarrel between India's main ruling party and the main opposition party has escalated with both accusing each other of trading the users' data collected via the mobile phone applications meant to facilitate public engagement and interaction. While the opposition party Congress has alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official mobile app was sending personal user data to a third party in the US, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has accused the Congress of transmitting personal data of users who signed up on the party's official app to a server in Singapore.

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