Following closely on a similar request for clarity from Facebook by the Indian government, immediately following the Cambridge Analytica data breach that came out in March, recent revelations by the internet company have prompted a repeat round of questioning by the Government. It was revealed earlier this week that Facebook had entered into data sharing arrangements with several mobile device manufacturers, with the company claiming that the intent behind this sharing of user data was an attempt to provide a superior user experience on devices that would be manufactured by these partners. However, severe backlash to this admission resulted in the US, where it was noted that four of these manufacturers were Chinese firms, one of which was even deemed a “threat to national security” not too long ago.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of India has demanded a response from Facebook before a deadline of 20th June about the exact details surrounding the arrangements in agreements that they had with the manufacturers. Coming on the heels of the earlier need for a similar statement, the Ministry has said that serious concerns have arisen due to this non-disclosure during the March 2018 investigations. Facebook went so far as to provide assurances that user data was safe and was not used without the express approval of its users. However, new discoveries of access and sharing of data not only pertaining to individual users, but also those of the friends who featured on individual user lists, as created a stir considering the lengths to which the reassurances of a couple of months ago have obviously been false.