India: Facebook data breach impact questioned

November 13, 2018


The rapid proliferation of digitalization in the modern life has resulted due to usage of internet which not only serves as a media of entertainment but also caters to numerous needs including communication, dissemination of information, commercial transactions, banking, etc. Rise of dependence on web-based world has also eased the networking of people on the integrated interface provided by the social media engines such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.


Accessible from various internet based electronic devices such as desktops, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc., Facebook allows the users to create a registered profile on the website whereby they can share their personal details, photographs, videos, information, view-points, while remaining connected with their friends around the world using the platform being offered sending them messages.

Social media prone to crime

Hoodlums having access to the internet services which use such facility in order to carryout nefarious activities with malicious intent. Some criminal acts of this nature include spread of false information, sending offensive messages, identity theft, cheating by impersonation, stalking, harassment by threats, cyberbullying, fraud, illegal transaction, cyber-terrorism, violation of privacy, publishing or transmitting obscene material, etc.

Facebook hacked

Facebook, on September 28, 2018, disclosed a security breach affecting nearly 50 million user accounts.[1] The social network giant is already facing the setback from previous data disclosure incidents involving major industrial players such as Cambridge Analytica, Huawei, Lenovo and Oppo challenging its credibility in the Indian market which offers a large number of users for it. Facebook informed that the hackers exploited its “View As” feature, which lets people see what their profiles look like to someone else and has claimed to have taken steps to fix the security problem and alerted law enforcement. In the said regard, 90 million people have been logged out and will have to log in again.

Indian Government questions impact

The Government has required Facebook to quantify the impact on its users in India after hackers breached as many as 50 million accounts of the social network and third-party net-based applications linked to those.

[2]Uncertainty prevails as to which accounts could have been accessed by the hackers using the social network. In India, Facebook’s single sign-on feature allows users to log into thirdparty apps such as Swiggy, Zomato, BigBasket, Hotstar, Tinder, Nykaa, SonyLIV, RentoMojo, FreshMenu, Chai Point, Quora, Snapchat, HealthifyMe, and Dominos, without creating a unique profile for each one.

The Government is in the process of enforcing the of Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 (hereinafter referred to as the “Bill”) in order to safeguard the interests of the user in respect to their personal and sensitive information comprising of such as details pertaining to Bank account, credit card, debit card or other payment instrument details; physical, and mental health condition; medical records and history; Biometric information; etc. The enforcement of the bill will make it mandatory to report the data breach to the Data protection Authority in furtherance of its approach to prevent data misuse and penal consequences for the violation of the same. In the modern era of the increased cyber-crimes, the Government is making consistent efforts to eliminate the impacts of the same by stricter adherence to the applicable legal regime as per the provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000 (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”) punishing the offenders of the online media and also by introducing new stringent norms for better data privacy and protection. Demanding an explanation from Facebook regarding the breach of data, the Government is not willing to compromise the safety of the users of the cyber-space.



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