DoT allocates public grievance helpline number to Election Commission

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DoT allocates public grievance helpline number to Election Commission
The Department of Telecom (DoT) on Friday allocated helpline number '1950' to the Election Commission for the public to register complaints against poll-related issues.

"Code '1950' was allotted to Election Commission of India or public grievance redressal as per request from Election Commission," DoT said in a notice to telecom operators.

By dialling 1950, people can reach a telephone number indicated by the chief electoral officer of the respective state, it added.

The cost of making the calls will be paid by chief electoral officer of the respective state to telecom operators.

"You [telecom operators] are hereby requested to realise this service up to the satisfaction of Election Commission i.e., the chief electoral officers of the state in the interest of public and nation as a whole," the notice said.

The Election Commission was last in technology news in January when it decided not to pursue a Google tie-up, citing security concerns. The commission dropped plans to partner Google on a project to ease voter access to information, after a backlash against the move from campaigners who claimed Google and the U.S. government could use the data for spying.

Google, which works with governments in other countries including Mexico and the Philippines on similar programmes, said it has not talked with the government about any project that would have involved data not already publicly available.

India, the world's largest democracy, will go to the polls in a general election due by May. Google, the world's no. 1 search engine, had pitched a project to the Election Commission to help create a simpler and faster tool for voters to check whether they were registered correctly or not.

(Also see: Google makes presentation to Election Commission for Lok Sabha election tie-up)

But the plan was opposed by the Indian Infosec Consortium, a government and private sector-backed alliance of cyber security experts. The group said in a statement last week it feared Google would collaborate with "American agencies" for espionage purposes.

Written with agency inputs from PTI and Reuters

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