Russia Now Looking to Meddle in Elections to be Held in India, Brazil: Oxford University Expert Tells US Senate Committee
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Moscow, Aug 2: An Oxford University expert who appeared before the US Senate Intelligence Committee told the panel that Russia is now attempting to meddle in the democratic processes of America's allies, including India and Russia.

The warning came from Philip N Howard, a Professor of Internet Studies at the Oxford Internet Institute and Balliol College at the University of Oxford. While addressing the US lawmakers, Howard said the upcoming elections in India and Brazil are under the radar of Russia.

"I believe that the Russians have moved from targeting us, in particular, to Brazil and India; other enormous democracies that will be running elections in the next few years," he said.

Howard's warning remains significant in light of the controversy stoked up back in New Delhi after the two national parties - ruling BJP and single-largest Opposition Congress - accused each other of availing the services of Cambridge Analytica, the disgraced data consultancy firm which mined the data f nearly 50 million Facebook users.

Briefly elaborating on his claim, the Oxford expert said Russia would target the Indian and Brazilian media, whose professional ethics are not as consolidated as their counterparts in the US.

"I would say that the greater concern would be amongst the media institutions in our democratic allies...The United States actually has the most professionalised media in the world. It's learned certainly to evaluate their sources and no longer report tweets as is given," Howard said, adding that the Brazilian and Indian media needs to "adopt and learn".

The US Senate Intelligence Committee had convened to discuss the meddling of Russia in the US presidential elections 2016.

The Committee's vice chairman, Senator Mark Warner, said the possibility of Russia not interfering in future elections cannot be ruled out. He called for more upgradation on social media platforms in order to avert the threat posed by "misinformers".

The top US Congressional panel had called its meeting a couple of days after Facebook cracked down on 32 accounts which were suspected to be linked to the Russian network which shaped the US political mood ahead of the presidential polls.