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India Election Commission says No to Google
January 9, 2014, 5:37 pm

Google on Thursday said in a statement that it was “unfortunate” that talks with the Indian government over a partnership were not fruitful [Getty Images]

Google on Thursday said in a statement that it was “unfortunate” that talks with the Indian government over a partnership were not fruitful [Getty Images]

India’s Election Commission on Thursday decided against a tie-up with global internet giant Google over security concerns.

“Google made a presentation to the Commission for electoral look up services for citizens to help in the efforts of the Commission for better electoral information services. However, after due consideration, the Commission has decided not to pursue the proposal any further,” the Commission said in a statement on Thursday.

Google had earlier proposed to the Indian Election Commission providing free online voter registration besides making available vital details of voter EPIC card numbers and polling station locations.

Google on Thursday said in a statement that it was “unfortunate” that talks with the Indian government over a partnership were not fruitful.

“It is unfortunate that our discussion with the Election Commission of India to change the way users access their electoral information, that is publicly available, through an online voter look up tool, were not fruitful,” read a Google statement.

The Indian body’s decision comes months after disclosures by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden of the massive surveillance operations mounted by the US intelligence agency.

The US government has access to the systems of nine of the world’s biggest internet companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Skype said a Guardian report earlier in June 2013.

Google had on Tuesday made a formal presentation to the Election Commission proposing a tie-up with it for voter facilitation services ahead of the 2014 Indian general elections.

Many cybersecurity experts had written to the Election Commission amid concerns over sharing of vital data pertaining to Indians to a foreign company.

Meanwhile, in November Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff made public a draft bill that will allow the government to prevent internet companies like Google and Facebook from storing data about Brazilian citizens outside the country.

According to a Washington Post report on October 30, the NSA has tapped directly into communications links used by Google and Yahoo to move huge amounts of email and other user information among overseas data centres.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said in November that if these reports are true, the US government would be in breach of the law.

“It’s really outrageous that the NSA was looking between the Google data centres, if that’s true. The steps that the organisation was willing to do without good judgment to pursue its mission and potentially violate people’s privacy, it’s not OK,” Schmidt said in an interview.

 

TBP and Agencies

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