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Citizens receive calls from political parties, raising privacy concerns

Residents alleged that the callers knew what beneficiary scheme they were enrolled in and sought votes, raising privacy concerns.
Last Updated : 18 April 2024, 20:42 IST
Last Updated : 18 April 2024, 20:42 IST

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Bengaluru: As polling day approaches and political campaigns intensify, residents, especially those in the Bangalore South constituency, allege that they have been receiving calls from people claiming to be a part of Sowmya Reddy’s team, the constituency’s Congress candidate. 

Residents alleged that the callers knew what beneficiary scheme they were enrolled in and sought votes, raising privacy concerns. Incidentally, after its election victory in 2023, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government announced five social welfare schemes for citizens.  

Speaking to DH, Nagaresh V, a student, alleged that they received a similar call, “I got a call from an unknown number. They claimed to be from Congress and confirmed whether I had received free electricity under the Gruha Jyothi Scheme. When I agreed, they sought votes for the Congress candidate for more such schemes and development”.

Another resident, Manasvi R, from the area, claimed she received a similar call around two weeks back. “The woman on the call claimed to be from Sowmya Reddy’s team and asked me if I was a benefactor of any schemes. When I said no, she offered assistance to apply and sought votes for Sowmya”. 

She later added that the call raised privacy concerns for the voters.

“There is no need for the political parties to reach out personally. If my data has been leaked to the parties, there could be consequences.”

Voters also raised similar concerns via X (Previously Twitter). One such user, @jm_manjunath, claiming to be a resident of Bangalore South on their profile, shared that they received a call asking “whether we vote Congress or not?”. Raising privacy concerns, they added, “First thing is how come Karnataka government can use the database of citizens who have enrolled in any schemes.? This is a serious data breach.” 

Speaking to DH, Vinay Srinivasa, an advocate with the Alternative Law Forum, said, “If the party is using government data, it is a severe breach of privacy. Similar allegations have previously emerged from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. 

Anunay Kulshrestha from the Centre of Internet and Society added that the data, if accessed, might contain other personally identifiable information like Aadhaar and PAN, which could lead to identity thefts and other concerns. 

However, speaking to DH, Shankar Guha from the Congress denied the allegations. He stated that it could be a ploy by the opposition to malign their image.

“We will take action if any formal complaint is filed,” he added. 

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Published 18 April 2024, 20:42 IST

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