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Razorpay faces backlash for sharing Alt News donor data with police

BL Bengaluru Bureau | Updated on: Jul 06, 2022

Activists and investors alike have tweeted chiding Razorpay for having disclosed donor information

Fintech major Razorpay is facing social media backlash for disclosing data of fact-checking website Alt News donors to police in a case regarding the arrest of Alt News co-founder Muhammad Zubair. 

As of July 6 morning, hashtag #Razorpay is trending on Twitter in Technology category with over 2,000 tweets. Activists and investors alike have tweeted about this move by Razorpay, which is estimated to have disclosed donor information like email address, and phone number. 

“We were asked to share transaction details. While we cannot get into the exact specifics of what exactly was shared with the police, we have not shared details like PAN card number, Aadhaar number, address, and pincode,” a Razorpay spokesperson told BusinessLine.

“Thanks for confirming that you are an organisation that puts self-preservation first & has zero respect for privacy of your customers. Did you even consult your lawyers first? Kindly note we are shutting down our account with Razorpay. All the best,” tweeted Akash Banerjee (@TheDeskhBhakt) who runs a social satire platform by the name The DeshBhakt.

Similarly, writer and activist, Meena Kandasamy (@meenakandasamy) said, “Don’t trust Razorpay with your data, and don’t use them as your payment interface,” 

Responding to multiple tweets about boycotting Razorpay, Srinivas Kodali (@digitaldutta), an independent researcher on data, cities and internet said, “No digital payments instrument offers anonymity. You can chose to boycott Razorpay, but this issue is not specific to them, its structural. Want solutions? Use cash.” 

On the other hand, co-founder of venture fund Aarin Capital, Mohandas Pai (@TVMohandasPai) said, “All startups should adhere to Rule of law, good to see Razorpay doing this unhesitatingly!”

Adding to Pai, Sunny Nehra (@sunnynehrabro), an ethical hacker said, “For those who are saying Razorpay handled data, how else do u want police to solve cases? In fact if some financial fraud happens, the victim asks police to get data from payment gateway to catch the culprit and under Section 91 of CRPC they are supposed to provide that.”

In a statement released late on Wednesday, Razorpay said that it received a written order from legal authorities under Section 91 CrPC and is mandated to comply with the same as per the regulation under the provision of Indian law. 

“While we strive to ensure transactions on the platform are safe, but at the same time, being a leading financial organisation we are fully abiding and compliant with all necessary laws and regulations of India. We will continue to hold the highest standard of data security, defend our customers at all times and also continue to abide by the laws and regulations of India,” the fintech unicorn added. 

Razorpay’s statement came after AltNews’ said that Razorpay has handed over Alt New donor data to the police. “This was done without informing us, or without even a preliminary investigation of any violation on the part of Alt News. While we look for alternatives, we will continue with Razorpay as the donation platform for now,” the fact-checking website added. 

Last week, Muhammad Zubair was arrested by Delhi police over an “objectionable tweet” posted by him in 2018 about a Hindu deity. Later, the probe expanded to include alleged foreign donations received by Alt News which lead police to seek Alt News’ donors data from Razorpay (donation platform used by Alt News).

Published on July 06, 2022
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