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Even Chhota Bheem knows better: Smriti Irani hits back at Rahul Gandhi over 'data sharing' issue

The BJP has accused the Congress of data 'theft'.

Even Chhota Bheem knows better: Smriti Irani hits back at Rahul Gandhi over 'data sharing' issue
File photo

New Delhi: The war of words between the Congress and the BJP on 'data sharing' spiralled on Monday. While on the one hand, Rahul Gandhi dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi the "Big Boss who likes to spy on Indians", Union Minister Smriti Irani hit back at Congress chief saying even 'Chhota Bheem' knows it is not snooping.

The BJP also accused the Congress of data 'theft', saying it had taken off its app after the allegations came out in the open. The Congress, however, claimed it had not done so. The site was 'dysfunctional' and all memberships were done through the party's official website, it said.

Taking to Twitter on Monday after allegations surfaced that data from the PM's official app was being shared without the consent of users, Rahul said PM Modi was misusing his position and the NaMo app secretly recorded audio, video and contacts.

"Modi's NaMo App secretly records audio, video, contacts of your friends and family and even tracks your location via GPS. He's the Big Boss who likes to spy on Indians. Now he wants data on our children. 13 lakh NCC cadets are being forced to download the app," he tweeted using the hashtag 'DeleteNaMoApp'.

Rahul added that PM Modi was misusing his position to build a personal database with data on millions of Indians via the NaMo App promoted by the government. "If as PM he wants to use tech to communicate with India, no problem. But use the official PMO app for it. This data belongs to India, not Modi," he said.

Irani hit back with a series of tweets, saying that Rahul now knows what the NCC is, thanks to the NaMo app. "Rahul Gandhi ji, even 'Chhota Bheem' knows that commonly asked permission on apps doesn't tantamount to snooping," she said, recalling the character from the animated series for children. "Ye kya Rahul Gandhi ji it seems your team is doing the opposite of what you asked for. Instead of #DeleteNaMoApp, they have deleted the Congress app itself," Irani added.

"Now that we're talking tech, would you care to answer Rahul Gandhi ji why Congress sends data to Singapore servers which can be accessed by any Tom, Dick and Analytica?" she further said. 

According to BJP's IT cell in-charge Amit Malviya, the Congress membership website is no longer available. "Message you will get - 'we are incorporating minor changes to the website. Please visit us again in a while to access the Congress membership process...' what is the Congress party trying to hide?" he tweeted.

Malviya also echoed Irani, saying the Congress app was sharing user data with Gandhi's friends in Singapore. "Hi. My name is Rahul Gandhi. I am the president of India's oldest political party. When you sign up for our official App, I give all your data to my friends in Singapore," he said, mimicking the Congress chief's tweet on Sunday.

Malviya went on to allege that the Congress, inspired by its leader Sonia Gandhi's "all power no accountability", will take all your data, even share it worldwide with organisations like Cambridge Analytica but will not take responsibility of it.

On the other hand, Congress social media in-charge Divya Spandana Ramya said the URL pointed out has been dysfunctional for a while and membership is through the INC website.

"We don't have any other membership site. Nothing is compromised. We haven't taken down anything," she said. The Congress added on its official Twitter handle that the 'with INC app' has not been in use for over five months since it moved membership to Inc.In on November 16, 2017.

Rahul had on Sunday had attacked PM Modi over allegations of data sharing from his official app without users' consent. His attack on the PM was based on a media report in which a French vigilante hacker has purportedly alleged that data was stolen from his official NaMo app without the consent of the users.

The Congress and the BJP have been attacking each other over the alleged 'data theft' issue and the use of services of Cambridge Analytica, accused of harvesting data from Facebook.

(With PTI inputs)