Govt. Wants To Snoop Into Digital Life Of Indians; But Won’t Allow ‘Data Abuse’ Of Citizens!
Once the negative sentiment is identified, they want to convert the same into positive sentiment.
This is 2018, and if you thought that Facebook posts and Tweets sent by you against or for Govt. policies won’t be heard or monitored, then you were wrong.
In a move which can be loosely described as surveillance, Govt. of India plans to track and monitor each and every aspect of an Indian’s digital life.
And the scary part is that it also includes emails, which is clearly against global data privacy laws.
Meanwhile, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has declared that data abuse of Indian citizens won’t be tolerated.
As the 2019 general elections are nearing, some interesting developments related to data mining and digital surveillance are coming up.
Where will these lead to us?
Digital Life Of Indians To Be Tracked!
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has recently released a bidding document for private and public companies, which has been titled as
“Request for Proposals (RFP) invited for Selection of Agency for SITC of Software and Service and Support for function, operation and maintenance of Social Media Communication Hub, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.”
As per the details shared in this bid document, Govt. wants to create a social media tracking tool, which can snoop into each and every social media portal where Indians are posting their views, and analyse their ‘sentiments’.
And this not all. Once the negative sentiment is identified, they want to convert the same into positive sentiment.
Here are the major requirements of this bidding document:
- The new social media analytical tool should be able to create unique digital profiles of all Indians, based on their viewpoints shared on social media
- Personalized campaigns to be launched based on these digital profiles to convert negative sentiments into positive sentiments
- The tool should be able to ‘listen to emails’.
- The tool should be able to use Natural Language Processing or NLP to “extract sentiment…as well as the context”.
- The tool should be able to categorize various messages and sentiments expressed by citizens into “positive, negative and neutral” as viewed by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
- The tool should be able to ‘predict’ news and headlines of major publications.
- Create an archive of all digital conversations of Indians and mine data from that.
You can find the RFP here.
Data Abuse Won’t Be Tolerated!
Meanwhile. Union IT and law minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad has once again stressed that data abuse of Indians by startups won’t be tolerated.
“…no fly-by-night operator will now be able to play with data. I am all for campaigning on social media and these platforms but you cannot play with (user) consent,”
Earlier, Minister Prasad had ‘warned’ Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about influencing Indian elections and abusing social media data of Indians for their private gains. This had come immediately after the Cambridge Analytics scandal broke out.
After this warning, Facebook had to come out and assured all that nothing of sorts would happen.
In his latest salvo, Minister said,
“India has sent out a very clear and firm message to these data companies that you cannot take the country lightly… I am very firm, we hold our democratic credentials very strongly,”
Interestingly, the work which Cambridge Analytica did with Facebook data, is now being repeated by Indian Govt., as clearly evident in the RFP document shared above.
We will keep you updated, as we receive more details.