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Has Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Breached Data Privacy Rules in UAE?

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Pavitra Shetty

Published on March 21, 2024, 11:14:39

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India, PM, Narendra Modi, user data, privacy, expats, Indian residents

Residents of the UAE, including Indian expatriates and individuals of various nationalities, received an unexpected WhatsApp message from an Indian number over the weekend.

The message, accompanied by a letter from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the form of a PDF attachment, sought feedback and suggestions on the Indian government's schemes and initiatives.

While some recipients appreciated the opportunity to provide input on national matters, others expressed concerns over potential data privacy breaches and questioned the relevance of the message to non-Indian residents in the UAE.

Dubai-based Pakistani journalist Asma Zain and Pakistani resident Fahad Siddiqui voiced their confusion and skepticism to the local media, questioning the necessity of their involvement in Indian government affairs. Similarly, a British resident of Dubai, who initially assumed the message was related to his professional engagements, found the communication puzzling."

Amidst the confusion, Emiratis also reported receiving the letter, raising questions about how their contact information was obtained and highlighting concerns over potential violations of data privacy regulations in the UAE.

Opposition parties criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government's outreach efforts, alleging political propaganda and misuse of resources for electoral gain. Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor shared screenshots of concerns raised by UAE-based individuals on social media and called for action from the Election Commission of India.

The incident comes at a time when digital data protection and privacy have become increasingly important issues globally, with the UAE implementing strict regulations to safeguard the personal information of its residents, raising significant concerns regarding data privacy laws and the protection of personal information.

With the UAE implementing strict regulations to safeguard individuals' digital data, the intrusion into residents' data by foreign entities without consent highlights potential violations of local privacy laws. Such unauthorised access to personal information not only undermines individuals' privacy rights but also underscores the importance of enforcing stringent measures to prevent unauthorised data collection and ensure compliance with data protection regulations in cross-border communications.

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