- The telecom giant said it was an inadvertent error caused by using a generic template for the page
Bharti Airtel stated, “The policy mentions expansive definitions which may not be warranted, and also that it does not collect information beyond what is permissible by the law, including any personal information relating to genetic data, religious or political beliefs, health or sexual orientation, etc.” However, this exact phrasing is subtle for what is actually permissible by the law since it is open to misuse.
According to Prashant Mali, lawyer and cybersecurity expert, users’ sexual orientation and even political opinions fall within SPDI under Section 43A of the Information Technology Act (2000), meaning collecting and processing them are within the rules. “If one feels violated, they can file a complaint against Airtel for damages and compensation of up to Rs. 5 crores before the Adjudication Officer, i.e. the Principal Secretary (IAS) of the state,” noted Mali. Airtel’s policy says that it may transfer users’ personal information to companies both in and outside of India. But it clarified that all entities should agree to follow Airtel’s guidelines for the “management, treatment and secrecy of personal information.”