French security researcher Elliot Alderson says that the personal data of users collected by NaMo App is being sent to a website which is located in the U.S.
By Rakesh Raman
As the slugfest around data theft continues between Congress and BJP, fresh details reveal how Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s mobile app was stealing users’ data and sharing it with outsiders.
The French security researcher Elliot Alderson, who has been informing about the vulnerabilities in Modi’s NaMo App, said today that Modi’s Android application silently sends users’ data without their consent. This data includes the IP address and a unique identifier of the user’s phone.
Alderson also said that the personal data of users thus collected is sent to a website which is located in the U.S. According to the researcher, since the Modi application is available in Europe, it must comply with the European regulation called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
However, the researcher says, Modi’s Android application does not meet these requirements and so it is breaking this European regulation.
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Alderson suggests that if you install Modi’s Android application on your phone, Modi is collecting a lot of your device information without your consent.
Therefore, it is being recommended that users should delete Modi’s NaMo App from their mobiles. In fact, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has started a Twitter hashtag #DeleteNaMoApp which urges users to delete NaMo App.
Meanwhile, it is being conjectured that the data collected by Modi’s NaMo App may be used for voting frauds on electronic voting machines (EVMs), as it is largely believed that Modi’s BJP has been tampering with EVMs to win elections.
In fact, today BJP itself has indicated about this possibility. “No wonder if Rahul Gandhi will tweet tomorrow that NaMo App is connected to EVM machines, and EVM tampering happens through it,” BJP stated.
BJP has also said that Rahul Gandhi is trying to divert attention from the controversy surrounding his party’s association with a rogue data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. BJP has accused Congress of engaging Cambridge Analytica in India for winning elections fraudulently.
Earlier on Sunday, Gandhi had ridiculed Modi for collecting Indians’ personal data and sharing it with his friends in American companies. The Congress president also had criticized the mainstream media for ignoring the NaMo App story.
Alderson also has explored the Congress app that the party was using for enrolling members. “When you apply for membership in the official @INCIndia #android #app, your personal data are send encoded through a HTTP request to http://membership.inc.in,” Alderson had revealed.
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However, after Alderson’s tweet, Congress tried to fix the glitch, as an error message (“We are incorporating minor changes to the website. Please visit us again in a while to access the INC Membership process.”) appeared on the webpage that Alderson mentioned. Now the message is changed to “If you are interested in membership please visit www.inc.in”
Alderson also indicated that Congress removed its Android App from the PlayStore just before his tweet.
This article is part of our editorial section that focuses on Lok Sabha Election 2019 in India.
Congress clarified Monday that its app was being used for social media updates only. “This morning we were forced to remove the app from the Playstore as the wrong URL was being circulated and people were being misled,” Congress said in a tweet.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a government’s National award-winning journalist. He had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.
Photo (Narendra Modi) courtesy: BJP