A mobile application with private information of voters is being offered for sale to candidates contesting in the April 6 parliamentary elections.
A police spokesman confirmed that the app is under investigation.
It contains names, addresses, photos and contact information of voters. On social media, the app has prompted concern over the right to privacy and the sharing of personal information without consent.
According to media reports, the app is being sold by Abdulla Shuhood, a former IT consultant for the state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.
Shuhoodh has reportedly been selling it to candidates for MVR25,000 (US$1,600) per constituency. The app is made available within two hours of making the payment.
But Abdulla Abdul Raheem, a former lawmaker running for his old Maafannu West seat, has been defending the app in the face of outrage on social media.
It was developed based on voter lists available on the Elections Commission website, which includes national identity card numbers and date of birth, and supplemented with information collected during previous campaigns, Raheem told the Maldives Independent.
“The information of contact numbers and photos are those gathered by candidates. We just sync the data through this application when it is provided to us,” he said.
“For example, I have mobile numbers of a lot of people in my constituency because I ran for parliament before. If a candidate who runs for parliament a second or third time does not have contact numbers of constituents, it’s a joke is it not?”
Raheem said EC chief Ahmed Shareef told him the electoral body did not have any objection to the app.
“Police took Shuhood in for questioning, he went and told them everything and police told him there was no problem and that it will not be investigated,” he said.
— Abdullah Abdul Raheem (@abdullahraheem) March 15, 2019