Welcome to all the new subs & welcome back to the old faithful. With the public markets not doing great globally, I assume we might see a slow down of tech & funding news- but don’t worry I’m always sitting on a bunch of somewhat recent stories that are still super interesting. We’ve got a couple of controversial stories (& my takes on them) today including an Indian company & Singapore company, both operating in India:
BIGO, the Singapore based social media company, announced that it was committing $100M to their India biz as well as creating 1000 in India.
But the company’s main platform Bigo Live has stirred up some controversy in the last couple of months. The platform that has live hosts has apparently been a hotbed of illegal activity.
The hosts in the platform essentially let their (mostly male) users send them money (usually via Paytm) for them to perform “acts of sexual nature”.
According to the Indian Penal Code, the “publication and transmission of sexually explicit material” is “punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of Rs 10 lakhs” which makes the activity on Bigo illegal.
And while the company claims to be moderating their platform, this is seems far from the truth. Though illegal, this probably drives up engagement on the platform so they might be turning a blind eye to the activity, but they will probably be exposed sooner rather than later.
The HR Tech company announced a new tool to let users verify their or other’s IDs through a WhatsApp bot.
As someone who loves apps/tools built on WhatsApp, I’m a little skeptical of this one.
First off, if you are verifying someone else’s ID card, the app asks the person who uploaded the photo if they took consent from the ID’d person rather than doing this themselves. This defeats the point of the consent because SpringVerify has no actual way of asserting if the user who’s ID was uploaded actually consented to being verified.
And while the company claims they don’t store any Aadhar data themselves (probably uses a 3rd party service like zoop.one), they are intending to launch a “Continuous Crime Monitoring” where they would, in fact, have to store some PII.
Now if users use this upcoming service for other individuals (who might not have consented to being monitored), we get into a complicated issue of data security & privacy, and my oh my does India need a legal policy on this soon.