With the Karnataka Assembly elections round the corner, the cyber experts have said that it is quite possible to influence elections in India. Talking to ANI, cyber expert Sunil Abraham did not rule out the possibility of influencing the voters as India does not have data protection law in place. He said under the provisions provided by 43 (A) of Indian IT Act, two types of data collection are completely legal: first, the data shared by the user in the public domain and secondly, the data published by the social platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, which was shared by the user for his/her friends. “Both these types of data are not considered sensitive personal data. Under Indian law, if they are collecting your biometrics, passwords and health information only then they need your consent,” Abraham told in an exclusive interview.
Replying a question about the chances of political parties influencing elections, Abraham said, “One cannot answer this question with a clear yes or no. But, the more a political party has in its database about you; the more they can micro-target you for various types of advertising.”
He, however, said with the literacy level of Indian internet users, the chances are high that they can be manipulated. “Once they do this, especially in a country where 30 percent of the public is illiterate and only 10 percent of public knows English and many-many users have just come online, there is a high chance that these users can be manipulated,” the cyber expert said.
When asked can it be termed influence, he said, “It will definitely be an influence. Most of the internet users in India have just come online, they don’t have media literacy; they have not consumed older technologies like television and broadcast media like radio sufficiently enough so it is easy for these users to get fooled by the content that is propaganda and fake news etcetera.”