File photo: An Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). Photograph:( Others )
The BJP and the Congress have both denied that they have used the services of Cambridge Analytica, the London-based firm that has been accused of using user information sourced from Facebook to influence the 2016 US presidential election.
Cambridge Analytica has since sacked its CEO Alexander Nix, while Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for the data leak. "This was a major breach of trust. I'm really sorry this happened. We have a basic responsibility to protect people's data," Zuckerberg said.
After the Cambridge Analytica story broke, news reports here on Thursday said the company had worked in India in the past.
The news reports said the firm's services were used in the 2010 Bihar assembly elections and that the India partner of CA's parent company had worked with the BJP, the Congress and the JD(U).
The BJP and the Congress have so far said they had nothing to do with Cambridge Analytica.
News reports however said that the website of CA's India affiliate — Ovleno Business Intelligence or OBI — mentioned the BJP, Congress and the Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar as clients.
The OBI website has since been suspended.
Ovleno is run by Amrish Tyagi, the son of JDU leader KC Tyagi.
WION was able to catch up with Tyagi, who said the information they make use of is all in the "public domain". It is very easy, he added, to understand the past history of "booth behaviour".
That "you can easily find out" how a booth might have "behaved" over the last three or four elections. The information, said Tyagi, can be sourced from the election comission website itself. That it is easily availabe and none of it is "rocket science".
Watch the interview below: