Google distances itself from Election Commission's project after controversy

Google distances itself from Election Commission's project after controversy
Internet giant Google said on Wednesday that it does not intend to make voter registration tool for India and has only made suggestions to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on improving such a tool.

"We don't intend to make a voting registration tool for India. We had some suggestions as to how the ECI's voter-registration tool could be improved, based on our own experience with making products that are easy to use," Google said in a statement.

Google said it made a formal presentation on Tuesday and discussed ways to "change the way users access their electoral information, that is publicly available, which would make their experience simpler, faster and consistent through a national online look-up tool".

Reports suggested that Google had made a formal presentation to the ECI proposing a tie-up with it for voter facilitation services ahead of Lok Sabha elections, a move questioned by several quarters citing security concerns. The Election Commission has said it has not signed any agreement with the US-based Internet company so far on voter facilitation initiatives ahead of polls. Google clarified that it has already helped governments make their public election information more accessible to voters in several countries, including the Philippines, Egypt, Mexico and Kenya.

"No private information changes hands - this is all about making public information that's already on the Web more useful to the public... Our discussions with the Electoral Commission of India have been preliminary and ongoing," Google said.

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