Paytm the Digital Payment Firm comes under a controversy over data privacy after a sting operation appeared, which suggests that, Vijay Shekhar Sharma led company had shared user data with a political organization, following under the orders from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Copbrapost an Investigative Journalism portal puts out a video on Friday, in which Paytm’s senior Vice-president Ajay Sharma is captured on camera saying that “he shared user data of stone-pelters in Jammu and Kashmir to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sang (RSS)”, which is the ideological parent of the current ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Is PayTm Sharing Users Data with Political Groups?
In a recent statement late on Friday, A Paytm spokesperson said, “There is absolutely no truth in sensational headlines of a video doing rounds on social media… Our user’s data is 100% secure and has never been shared with anyone except various law enforcement agencies on request.”
Run by One97 Communication Ltd, Paytm, is the second-biggest Indian tech unicorn, after online retailer Flipkart. In January the company was valued at around $10 billion after a current and former employee exercised their stock options.
Paytm counts China’s Alibaba Group and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp among its key investors. SoftBank has invested $1.4 billion (around Rs9, 000 crores) in Paytm last year. Which helped company rapidly expanded over the past few years.
It also benefitted significantly from the government’s shock move in November 2016 to ban old high-value banknotes as part of efforts to depress cash transaction and boost digital payments.
The allegations come in the backdrop of the recent controversy involving social networking giant Facebook, in which personal information of millions of users was leaked to the political consultancy firm, Cambridge Analytica. That data was allegedly used to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, raising several questions over the handling of user information by tech companies.
Facebook later revealed that the data breach also affected 5.62 lakh, Indian users, instantly after the scandal broke out. Indian Government demanded a response from Cambridge Analytica on whether it was engaged to improperly harvest Facebook data on Indian citizens.
All the tech companies of the world are increasingly facing greater scrutiny related to data misuse.
On Friday, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in the European Union.
The regulation aims to provide people a greater control over how their personal data is used. In addition to this, companies with operation in EU counties will have to follow strict protocols for storing private data and sharing it with third parties.
— Cobrapost (@cobrapost) May 25, 2018
The cobrapost expose was part of a series of videos which claims to show media organization willing to run a politically –biased campaign.
In case of Paytm, Ajay Sharma was seen speaking to Cobrapost’s Pushp Sharma, who met the senior Paytm executive on the plea of wanting to sell religious items on the platform.
The journalist is also shown meeting Paytm company vice president Sudhanshu Gupta, who grants his political affiliations with the RSS and also talks about how the company significantly propagates certain types of “Hindutva content” through its app.
We will update you will all the further inquiries, stay tuned to get more information on this topic.
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