Vijayawada: The YSRC on Monday demanded a high-level inquiry by a range of agencies from the cyber crime police to the Election Commission and the Union ministry of electronics and information technology to investigate the alleged harvesting of AP voter data by the Telugu Desam. YSRC legislator Buggana Rajendranath Reddy said the party was highlighting the alleged harvesting of state data and not the data of TD, the ruling party leaders were claiming.
Speaking to mediapersons here on Monday, Mr Rajendranath Reddy, the AP Public Accounts Committee chairman, “The data harvesting being done by IT Grid is so sensitive that it has full control of the personal information of the residents of Andhra Pradesh which was provided by a mechanism created by the state government though surveys by contract workers.” He compared the case with that of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the company used an open graph platform on Facebook to harvest data of 8 crore users and put it to use in the US elections.
“IT Grids has stored data of over 4.5 crore people in just one state,” he said adding IT Grids of Hyderabad) and Bluefrog Technologies of Vizag were the two favoured companies which were patronised by CM N. Chandrababu Naidu and the heads of the two companies are always seen in the Chief Minister’s Office, he alleged.
“We lodged a complaint after finding out that a large number of names from the electoral rolls were being deleted and they happen to be YSRC sympathisers. Our suspicion was strengthened with the Sevamitra app recording the personal details of the people and the data is being segregated and manipulated by IT Grid. The personal data of residents of the state is being used for political purposes by private players which is an offence and that was what we have mentioned in our complaint,” he said.
Mr Rajendranath Reddy said that TD leaders and IT minister Nara Lokesh were allegeing that the case had been filed in Hyderabad as part of a conspiracy, but the place of offence and the head office of the company were in Hyderabad.
“The case of data theft is established beyond doubt with some of the features being deleted from the Sevamitra app including the colour photograph of the person as the Aadhaar Card does not have colour photographs. Along with the picture, the mobile number, Aadhaar number and other details were listed after February 20 which shows that the TD government and the IT company are guilty as charged,” Mr Rajendernath Reddy said.
The PAC chairman alleged that the data theft was carried out in a systematic manner by categorising the state resident data into four sections under the heads of TD supporters, YSRC voters, neutrals and non-residents. This was how a large number of names of YSRC sympathisers were getting deleted as the controlling server was in Hyderabad with IT Grid, he claimed.
"We have given complaints to the Election Commission and other departments concerned. A high official who was with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has been a beneficiary of Chandrababu’s largesse and made no move to take action," Mr Rajendranath Reddy claimed.