Prasanto K. Roy, Public policy advisers from New Delhi are concerned. In 2017, he began making regular donations to Alt News, an Indian fact-checking group, to support its work to combat online misinformation.But on July 5, the nonprofit Say Razorpay, an Indian payment gateway used to receive donations following the arrest of Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair last month, has shared data on its donors with New Delhi police.
Roy is now hesitant to use Razorpay, saying he fears tech companies will hand over data, including his own, to law enforcement without consent. “When payment gateways provide a database of donors based on excessive police demand, that information can be misused by police or others they may have access to,” he said. “India doesn’t even have a privacy law.”
The full extent of data Razorpay shared with police remains unclear, but Alt News Say The data it collects from donors includes phone numbers, email addresses and tax identification numbers.a police officer told Hindustan Times The force is collecting data from banks to cross-reference with Alt News data.
The probe appears to be part of an ongoing probe into whether Alt News has received funds from outside India, after police claimed the group’s parent company received funds from several other countries, including Pakistan and Syria. donations. Alt News co-founder Zubair was arrested on June 27 for a 2018 tweet that allegedly hurt religious sentiments, but is also being investigated for other charges, including receiving foreign funds under India’s Foreign Contributions (Supervision) Act, which The law restricts foreign donations to nonprofit organizations.
While the arrest warrants fears among many Indians that police are taking away internet freedoms, it also highlights the limited legal protection of privacy and the lack of comprehensive data protection laws in the world’s largest democracy. As more and more Indians use the Internet for leisure, communication and business, the stakes are growing. The country’s digital payments market is already worth $3 trillion and is expected to soar to $10 trillion by 2026, according to the Boston Consulting Group.
Razorpay faces social media backlash and threats boycott Used to share donor data without prior notice to Alt News. “Many donors and fundraisers said they would not use Razorpay again, and that was my initial reaction,” Roy said, adding that perhaps other companies would bow to the same pressure from the police.
in a public statement Twitter, Razorpay made no mention of Alt News and said the data shared was “limited to what was within the scope of the investigation.” Razorpay chief executive Harshil Mathur tweeted that police were trying to “determine if there were any foreign donations” and claimed the donor’s tax ID and address 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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