India’s Election Regulator not partnering with Google for data spying concerns

Google has been helping out some Government agencies in countries like Mexico and Philippines to help the Government check the identity of people very easily during voting. While India’s election is coming up in May, Google’s project, that would help the Indian Government verify the identity of a citizens with ease, is not selling to the Indian Election Commission.

The Indian Infosec Consortium did not agree to the plan of partnering with Google to build a tool for the Government, considering fears that the company would indeed be collaborating with American agencies for espionage. Gaurav Bhaskar, a Google India spokesperson, said Reuters that the Indian Government was free to choose a third-party vendor for hosting the data of the Indian Citizens, and Google would just provide a software tool to help the non-commercial agreement.

While this is not the official reason that was sent out to the press, an unnamed official from the Indian Government revealed that Google’s proposal was not a major improvement to the existing website, with which the Indian Government is monitoring the citizens’ identity during voting.

Talking about this issue, Google said:

“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,”

This is indeed a sensitive issue for any Government who is concerned about the voter data. India-U.S. relationship and trust has been volatile ever since the Snowden leak happened.

Google India has been in the legal spotlight already, for asking the users to map add information about their neighborhood during the Google Indian Mapathon. May be this is a nice move by the Indian Government.

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