Election Commission of India

Lok Sabha Elections 2014: Election Commission’s Google tie-up for voter registration a data security risk, opine experts

Jan 5 • Cover Story, Cyber Crime/Security, Elections 2014, India Votes, Indo-US relations, International, Lok Sabha Elections 2014, Politics, USA • 495 Views • No Comments

By TNN | 5 Jan, 2014, 11.20AM IST

NEW DELHI: A group of cyber security experts have questioned the Election Commission’s move to tie up with Google for voters’ registration, saying it could have possible impact on national security and democracy itself.

In the light of recent exposes about the penetrative and widespread intelligence gathering by the US agencies exposed by Edward Snowden, the activists also alleged that the EC’s move was done without any strategic considerations and could have long-term repercussions.

“It is shocking that in a country like India which is called world’s software superpower, Election Commission, instead of an Indian company, has chosen a foreign company like Google, which has colluded with American intelligence agencies like NSA (National Security Agency) for global cyber spying, to provide electoral registration and facilitation services by providing them the whole database of registered voters in India,” the Indian Infosec Consortium said in the capital on Saturday.

“This will pose an unprecedented security risk to India, as this data is bound to be surely misused by Google and American agencies for cyberespionage and other surveillance operation by the United States,” the group said.

According to reports, Google and EC have entered into an agreement under which the internet giant will help EC to manage online voter registration and facilitation services ahead of the 2014 elections.

Google will help manage online registration of new voters, allow the enrolled voters to verify their details, and get directions to the polling station. Voters’ queries on the commission website are also to be managed by Google.

Jiten Jain, a member of the consortium, said the EC’s move also raise questions if it is a violation of Public Records Act of 1993, which prevents official records from being stored abroad.

Rajsekhar Murthy, another member of the consortium, said the poll panel should have spoken to Indian companies such as Infosys or TCS before jumping into such a decision. “Cost wise it is not much,” he said.

SOURCE: THE ECONOMIC TIMES

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