‘Google, FB know more about us than our govt’

ST Correspondent
Monday, 20 August 2018

Pune: Ankit Fadia, a well-known, self-professed ethical hacker, said that foreign IT giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter know more about citizens than the governments of the countries. 

The author was interacting with the media about hacking, cyber security, data theft and programmes like Aadhaar Identification Number at the Pune launch of ‘The Casino Job’, his 20th book as an author.

Pune: Ankit Fadia, a well-known, self-professed ethical hacker, said that foreign IT giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter know more about citizens than the governments of the countries. 

The author was interacting with the media about hacking, cyber security, data theft and programmes like Aadhaar Identification Number at the Pune launch of ‘The Casino Job’, his 20th book as an author.

Fadia said that internet giants carry out much bigger surveillance operations than any government can. “We have the smartphone in our hands. It is the centre of our life, we talk to our friends on it, have private emails, sensitive data, picture and other information on it. It knows where we went or are going, what we bought, what we’re talking about,” he said.

“So basically Google and Facebook know more about us than our government can,” he further added.

Fadia also said that Chinese smartphone manufacturing is also a huge data risk. “Almost all our electronic consumables are being produced in China. There are many Chinese companies that have their own brands of electronics too, like MI, Huawei and others. These manufacturers are mostly owned by the Chinese government and might be extracting user data and sending it to the Chinese agencies,” he said.

Talking about the Aadhaar programme, Fadia said, “According to me, Aadhaar is a necessary programme. It is very important for security of the country and efficiency of administration. I am not much worried about the possible surveillance carried out by the government as my biometric data will be sitting on a safe server somewhere and the government may not be live tracking me through it.” 

When asked about the risks attached to the programme, he said, “There were some loopholes in the technology, which have been ironed out. The system is very transparent too as one can control what is done with their Aadhaar data.”

When asked whether such biometric identifications should be made the basis of citizen rights and welfare schemes, Fadia said, “It is the future. The United Arab Emirates has an identity card for its citizens, the United States has an identification number and many other developed countries have such identification. The rollout of the Aadhaar could have been done better taking the Indian reality in mind, but there is no better way to make the system efficient.”

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