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The privacy nightmare that no one in India talks about

Last week, I walked into an office building in DLF Cyber City in Gurgaon, the one that has offices for Google and Yahoo, only to find that the security guards at the entrance wanted me to hold up my identity card (I carry my drivers license) in front of a digital scanner, "for security purposes". I declined, and asked them to explain why. "For security," I was told, once again. On being asked about what they do with the data, and where it is stored, the guards at the entrance were apologetic, and eventually delegated upwards: they took me to a small one-room office in the basement parking of the building, which looked and felt like a dilapidated government office, and appeared to house the officers in charge of security at DLF Cyber City. I was taken to the back of the room, where a grey haired man sitting behind a desk told me that I can go in, as long as the executives of the company I was visiting called up to validate my identity. When I continued to inquire about their privacy policy, and how I know that my data is secure, another man stepped up behind me and rudely inquired about how it is any of my business. This policy of scanning identifying documents is new, and the system was put into place only a month and a half ago. I faced a similar situation while visiting Amazon at the World Trade Center in Bangalore last month.…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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