Rahul steps up attack on Modi over NaMo app, BJP terms him tech illiterate

New Delhi, March 27 The Congress and BJP traded charges on Monday on the issue of alleged data theft with Congress President Rahul Gandhi stepping up his attack on Prime Minister Narendera Modi and accusing him of misusing his position to build personal database “with data on millions of Indians via the NaMo App promoted by the government”.The BJP hit back, terming him “technologically illiterate.”

The sharp exchange of words saw some personalised attacks with Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani targeting Gandhi, tweeting that “even ‘Chhota Bheem’ knows that commonly asked permission on Apps don’t tantamount to snooping.”

The BJP also accused Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of using government money to run the ‘Siddaramaiah App’.

As the BJP accusing the Congress of sharing users’ data to a Singapore-based firm, the Congress took down its‘’WithINC mobile app, saying it had been defunct for five months and emphasising that there was no breach of data through it.

The BJP salvo came a day after Gandhi, citing a media report, accused Modi of leaking details of his official mobile app users to US firms.

Sharpening his attack on Monday, he termed Modi a “Big Boss who likes to spy” and also alleged that NaMo App secretly records audio, video, contacts and even tracks location via GPS.

“Modi misusing PM position to build personal database with data on millions of Indians via the NaMo App promoted by Govt. 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,” Gandhi said in a tweet.

“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 (National Cadet Corps) cadets are being forced to download the app,” he added.

Irani took a swipe at Gandhi, asking him if his team had misunderstood his demand to get “NaMo” app deleted and instead removed “WithINC” from the Google store.

She also asked the Congress chief if he would care to answer “why Congress sends data to Singapore servers which can be accessed by any Tom, Dick and Analytica”, referring to the British firm that was at the centre of a storm for illegally accessing Facebook user data for political purposes.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also targeted Gandhi in a press conference and accused him of spreading lies.

“This is a classic case of technological illiteracy of Rahul Gandhi. Technologically he is very backward. Analytics is not equivalent to spying or snooping. Those technologically ignorant are trying to describe it as snooping and spying,”he said.

He alleged that Congress was rattled by the Cambridge Ana”yitca “expose” and was trying everything to divert attention and to stop Prime Minister from communicating with others.

Stating that Congress chief “needs to brush” up his knowledge,” Patra said it would be no wonder if Rahul Gandhi tweets tomorrow that NaMo App was connected to EVM machines.

Accusing Siddaramaiah of using government money to run the ‘Siddaramaiah App’, Patra said: “Is it right to use public money for personal political branding? This is not only data theft but also robbery of public money.”

Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who also addressed a press conference, said that the allegations of Congress collecting data through this app were the “half truth”.

“As is usual with the BJP, they did not tell you that the ‘WithINC’ app had only 15,000 downloads. It had become defunct because our people do not like the ‘missed call’ membership. Congressmen believe in physical or offline membership. In contrast the Narendra Modi app has had 50 lakh downloads,” he said.

The party also said there has been no breach of data whatsoever.

Earlier, Amit Malviya, who is incharge of BJP’s Information and Technology wing, attached “screenshots” of the Congress’ website privacy policy listings to attack the party.

“Hi! My name is Rahul Gandhi. I am the President of India’s oldest political party. When you sign up for our official Application, I give all your data to my friends in Singapore,” one said.

Congress social media chief Divya Spandana hit back. “Forget sharing, we don’t collect any data through the App. What a dimwit,” she said, referring to Malviya’s tweet.