A privacy panic flares up in India after police retrieved payment data from Razorpay | MarketingwithAnoy

Presenter K. Roy, a New Delhi public policy consultant is concerned. In 2017, he began sending regular donations to the Indian fact-checking organization Alt News to support its work to address online misinformation. But on July 5 nonprofit said that the Indian payment gateway Razorpay, which it used to receive donations, had shared its donors’ data with the police in New Delhi following the arrest of Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair last month.

Roy is now hesitant to use Razorpay, saying he is concerned that technology companies are handing over data – including his own – to law enforcement without consent. “When a payment gateway distributes donor databases on a police claim that is too large, that information can be misused by the police or others it can reach,” he said. “India does not even have privacy laws in place yet.”

The full extent of the data that Razorpay shared with police is still unclear, but Alt News said that the data it collects from donors includes telephone numbers, email addresses and tax IDs. A police officer told that Hindustan Times that the force collects data from banks to cross-reference with the Alt News data.

The investigation appears to be part of an ongoing investigation to verify whether Alt News received donations outside India, according to police claimed that the organization’s parent received funding from several other countries, including Pakistan and Syria. Zubair, the co-founder of Alt News, was arrested on June 27 for a tweet from 2018 that allegedly hurt religious sentiments but is also being investigated for others chargesincluding the receipt of foreign funds under India’s Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, which limits foreign donations to non-profit organizations.

While the arrest has prompted many Indians to fear that the police will revoke Internet freedom, it has also highlighted the limited legal protection of privacy in the world’s largest democracy, which missing a comprehensive data protection law. Efforts are growing as more people in India use the internet for leisure, communication and commerce. The country’s digital payments market – already valued at $ 3 trillion – is expected to rise to $ 10 trillion by 2026, according to to Boston Consulting Group.

Razorpay has been subjected to setbacks from social media and threats of one boycott to share donor data without first informing Alt News. “Many donors and fundraisers said they would not use Razorpay again and that was also my first reaction,” Roy said, adding that other companies might also have fallen under the same pressure from the police.

In a public statement regarding Twitter, Razorpay did not mention Alt News, saying the shared data was “limited to what was within the scope of the investigation.” Razorpay CEO Harshil Mathur tweeted that police were trying to “determine if there were any foreign donations or not”, claiming that the donors’ tax IDs and addresses were not shared. Razorpay did not respond to a request for comment; Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha declined to comment.

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