The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday said that the data from the Narendra Modi Android app is shared with a “third party service” for analytics, similar to Google Analytics, a day after a French cyber security expert alleged that the application shares its users’ private information with companies without their consent.
“The data in no way is stored or used by the third party services,” Amit Malviya, the head of the BJP’s information technology cell, told The Indian Express. “Analytics and processing on the user data is done for offering users the most contextual content...It also enables a unique, personalised experience according to a person’s interests.”
The newspaper’s analysis revealed that the app – which provides users with updates on the BJP government’s achievements and gives them access to the prime minister’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio show – asks users for permission to access 22 personal features on their devices, including location, photographs and contacts, microphone and camera. In comparison, Amazon India’s app requires 17 permissions and the Prime Minister’s Office app needs access to 14 features.
Unidentified government officials too assured the media that the data from the app saved in Indian servers and were safe. “Narendra Modi App is a unique app, which unlike most apps, gives access to users in ‘guest mode’ without even any permission or data,” ANI quoted government sources as saying. “The permissions required are all contextual and cause-specific.”
Congress President Rahul Gandhi has criticised Modi, accusing him of selling data to American companies.