Wrap: Facebook data breach continues to dominate headlines

Wrap: Facebook data breach continues to dominate headlines

Once the beans have spilled, they take a long time to collect and be put back, if at all. Such is the case with the data breach allegations against Facebook, which refuse to die down and continued to dominate headlines all through this past week.

The issue is now probably more political than technology driven, but it is undeniable that it has pushed the data protection and online privacy debates to the forefront of public discussion.

The week began with the US Federal Trade Commission confirming that it is investigation privacy practices at the social network. Later in the week, the US press reported that Facebook could potentially be looking at millions of dollars in fines because it may have breached a 2011 consent agreement.

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On Wednesday, India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said it has sent a communication to Facebook to explain data breach allegations in the country. Facebook has been given time till April 7 to respond to the allegations.

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India's identity programme- Aadhaar- also continued to grapple with its own issues. The Supreme Court hearings on the combined Aadhaar petitions are still going on, and this week saw some action, the basis for which was provided by the chief executive of the Unique Identification Authority of Inida- the agency that administers Aadhaar.

UIDAI chief Ajay Bhushan Pandey this week submitted his authentication logs (to show that Aadhaar uses privacy by design) to the Supreme Court the previous week, and since they were available to the public, they were scrutinised by a cybersecurity analyst on Twitter.

Even so, Moneycontrol reported that Vidhi Centre of Legal Policy, an independent think tank funded by, among others, philanthropist Rohini Nilekani, received nearly Rs 50 lakh for helping formulate the Aadhaar Act 2016.

On the other hand the Indian IT services sector had a tough week too. US-based software exporter Cognizant reportedly had its bank accounts frozen, on grounds that the firm evaded dividend distribution tax (DDT).

Meanwhile, a report in The Times of India also said that the third largest Indian IT exporter Wipro has had a former US-based employee file a case against unlawful termination of his services.