Manickam Tagore B, Member of Parliament(MP) from Tamilnadu, raised serious concerns related to privacy and security issues involved with the Koo app. He asked the government about the Chinese investment in the Koo app parent company. The government clarified the issue in parliament. This is not the first time when Koo app Chinese connection is discussed. Last month also, experts raised serious concerns about the security and privacy of Koo app users.
Government Clarifies Koo app Related Concerns
Pointing to the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology(MeitY), Manickam, MP of Indian National Congress, asked the three major questions written below:
Question 1: whether the Government is aware of the Chinese investment in the parent company of the Koo app and if so, the details thereof and the reaction of the Government thereto;
Question 2: whether the Government has taken note of the fact that the sudden rise of the Koo app has sparked privacy and security concerns over its collection of personal data in view of the Chinese investment in the company and if so, the details thereof and the reaction of the Government thereto; and
Question 3: whether the Government has contemplated any action to prevent the increase in usage of the said app in view of the Chinese investment and if so, the details thereof?
In reply to those questions and concerns raised by the MP, Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology said:
Answer to Question 1: Under the extant FDI(Foreign Direct Investments) Policy of Government of India, 100% investment through automatic route was allowed for IT companies till notification of Press Note 3 of Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry dated 17″ April 2020. Koo App has been developed by an Indian IT company before such notification.
Related to question 2 and 3, Sanjay provided the combined answer. He said that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) launched the Digital India AatmaNirbhar App Innovation Challenge on July 2 2020. The challenge was open for participation by Indian entrepreneurs and startups only. Koo App was shortlisted as an awardee for the said AatmaNirbhar App Challenge under the Social Media Category as it was an eligible participant to be classified as the domestic company as per the extant FDI policy.
He further added that as per the details provided by the company that has developed the app, it has been indigenously developed and app data is completely stored in India in its servers located in Mumbai. Being an Indian company with operations within the country, it has to adhere to all the existing data privacy and security regulations of the Government.
About Koo App
Recently, there is a lot of discussions about the Koo app. People are treating it as an Indian version of Twitter. Indian Government is promoting Koo app after the recent controversy with Twitter. Some noted Ministers like Piyush Goyal have joined Koo app.
A few days back, Kangana Ranaut also wrote in support of the Koo app and requested her fans to join the platform. Kangana is a noted Bollywood actress. She remains in news for her controversial statements related to her colleagues and politics.
One month back, Ethical Hacker Elliot Alderson also raised concerns about the privacy of the Koo app. He practically showed how data is being leaked. He is the same hacker who pointed out the privacy concerns of the Aarogya Setu app.
Koo app has welcomed 3+ million users since its launch in March 2020.