Launched in September 2016 and owned by Mr. Mukesh Ambani has spread its wings from digital money to online retail. Jio is a subsidiary of his Reliance Industries (RIL).
Meanwhile, for Facebook, India is the world largest user base. It is a huge market for social media platform’s messaging service, Whatsapp. At 80 million users, India is seconfto the US only in terms of its photo sharing app, Instagram.
Since, it is formally announced that Reliance Industries Limited, Jio Platforms Limited and Facebook Inc had signed binding agreements for an investment of Rs 43,574 crore by Facebook into Jio Platforms. Resultant of which, Facebook will acquire a 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms. Reliance Retail and Facebook-owned Whatsapp have also entered into a commercial partnership under which Reliance Retail’s Jio Mart platform will support small businesses on Whatsapp.
This deal has brought data privacy concerns at the forefront as the vast amounts of data (WhatsApp, now has over 400 million users and Jio has about 390 million telecom subscribers in India) will be collected by these entities.
Justice BN Srikrishna is the chief architect of India’s data privacy law and he has raised a red flag over privacy concerns originating from Reliance Jio-Facebook deal.
Justice B N Srikrishna says, “It is a strategic investment. A strategic investment by definition means it is an investment intended to further the business interest of the investee as well as the investor”.
“We do not sell or rent personal information to any third party entities”
It also states certain exceptions. The policy also says that disclosure of personal information is limited such as name, phone number, address, photographs and proof of identity documents such as PAN Card, Passport etc.
In certain situations in which scenarios such as a mergers or acquisitions that affects the company and also to its partners. There are certain exceptions in the policy to sharing the data with ‘Partners’ that include:
“vendors, consultants, contractors and companies or affiliates who provide a host of services including contact information verification, payment processing, customer service, website hosting, data analysis, infrastructure provision, IT services, and other similar services.”
Though the concerns around the privacy have still not been given green signal, this is perhaps one of the motivations why the country urgently needs privacy laws. Without law there is no regulator who can tame and keep a check.