HELLO? Namaskara…
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HELLO? Namaskara…

April 16, 2024
  • Mysureans flooded with ‘crafty’ phone calls seeking votes
  • Political parties buy citizens’ phone numbers for Rs. 5 to Rs. 10 from vendors; Concerns over breach of data, privacy

Mysore/Mysuru: Election Day is only 10 days away — Apr. 26, Friday — and if you are constantly getting calls from different numbers seeking your vote, you’re not alone.

People are getting a barrage of calls and messages from various candidates vying for their attention and votes.

These communications, often originating from different and multiple numbers, feature recorded voice messages from candidates, party leaders and heads of present Governments.

Frustration and annoyance

Citizens across all Constituencies are expressing frustration and annoyance over the inundation of unsolicited calls from political parties. On average, seven to eight calls are made every day raising concerns about privacy and data breach.

Social media platforms and WhatsApp groups are flooded with messages expressing anger and likening these political calls to pesky telemarketing nuisances. 

Phone numbers for sale

Breach of privacy and data has emerged as there is a surging demand for phone numbers of WhatsApp and Facebook users as political parties and candidates strive to engage with voters on an individual basis.

Various entities, ranging from local supermarkets to delivery partners for food and consumer goods, are involved in the sale of citizens’ data for a fee.

Phone numbers are meticulously organised based on postal index numbers (PIN codes), with even gas connection data being sold or provided to politicians. Also, phone number data is collected from beneficiaries of various Government schemes.

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Candidates are purchasing data specific to voters or residents in their Constituencies, paying anywhere from Rs. 5 to Rs. 10 for each number. Subsequently, these numbers are handed over to call centres and IT cells engaged by political parties.

As per the directives of the Election Commission of India (ECI), any bulk SMS or recorded voice messages sent out as part of election campaigns must receive prior clearance from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) of the ECI set up in each Constituency.

This indiscriminate sharing of personal data without the consent of voters underscores the urgent need for stricter regulations to protect citizens’ privacy during election campaigns.

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Mysuru’s favorite and largest circulated English evening daily has kept the citizens of Mysuru informed and entertained since 1978. Over the past 45 years, Star of Mysore has been the newspaper that Mysureans reach for every evening to know about the happenings in Mysuru city. The newspaper has feature rich articles and dedicated pages targeted at readers across the demographic spectrum of Mysuru city. With a readership of over 2,50,000 Star of Mysore has been the best connection between it’s readers and their leaders; between advertisers and customers; between Mysuru and Mysureans.

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