Official Naramendra Modi app collects data for political reuse
In March 2018, Indian Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted that the Naramendra Modi app issued by India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was leaking user data. The app is intended to spearhead BJP's social media strategy in the run-up to the 2019 general elections; the party hopes to use it to mobilise 100 million BJP members and has set a target of 100,000 downloads for each district. Both privacy activists and political rivals complained that the app asks for too many permissions, is not as secure as it should be, and is run by the BJP while being presented as the Indian prime minister's official app without making clear the data gathered is likely to be used for campaigning purposes. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, both the Congress party and BJP have accused the other of using Facebook analytics. Both Modi and BJP have been pushing app downloads in the interests of creating a channel they do not have to pay for and targeting young people who will be first-time voters in 2010 in a country where 41% of the population is under 20 years old.
Writer: Jayadevan PK and Pankaj Mishra
Publication: Factor Daily