Google distances itself from Election Commission's project after controversy

Google clarifies that it has only made suggestions to improve voter registration tool and it does not intend to make one for the EC.

By Silky Malhotra Published Date
09 - Jan - 2014
| Last Updated
09 - Jan - 2014
Google distances itself from Election Commission's project after...

Search engine giant Google, has denied reports that it is planning to make a voters tool ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections. Google clarified that it has made only suggestions to improve such a tool based on its previous experiences with other governments.

According to reports, Internet giant Google had made a formal presentation to the ECI proposing a tie-up with it for voter facilitation services ahead of Lok Sabha elections. Now after question have been raised by several quarters about security concerns, Google has clarified that it has already helped governments in Egypt, Kenya and Mexico make public election information more accessible to voters.

Google had proposed free online voter registration besides making available vital details of voter EPIC card numbers and polling station location. However, a group of cyber security experts have written to the EC over sharing of vital data pertaining to Indians to a foreign company especially after the US government has been exposed about widespread intelligence gathering.

The Government has in return stated that it has not signed any agreement with the US-based Internet company so far on voter facilitation initiatives ahead of polls.

"We don't intend to make a voting registration tool for India. We had some suggestions as to how the ECI's voter-registration tool could be improved, based on our own experience with making products that are easy to use," Google said in a statement.

Google stated that it had made a presentation on ways to "change the way users access their electoral information, that is publicly available, which would make their experience simpler, faster and consistent through a national online look-up tool".

"No private information changes hands - this is all about making public information that's already on the Web more useful to the public... Our discussions with the Electoral Commission of India have been preliminary and ongoing," Google said.

Source: HT