April 6, Ranendra Ojha, a marketing professional from the East Indian city of Kolkata, looks forward to installing and using the new super app, Tata Neu. Super App is an umbrella mobile application under which companies offer a bunch of services. But as Ojha installed and signed up for Tata Neu on her phone number, she was shocked to find that the newly launched app already had three old addresses with her full name – details she never shared with the app.
As he digs further, Ojha realizes that the app seems to have pulled data from the grocery app Big Basket, which Ojha often uses. Like the Big Basket, Tata New is owned by the 155-year-old Tata Group. One of the largest conglomerates in India, the Tata Group sells everything from salt to software and has entered the world of consumer technology with a number of recent acquisitions.
“Honestly, I was shocked that Tata took my personal details from an app they owned and used for this new app,” Ojha said. “They actually shared my personal details with the entire Tata Group company without my permission.”
Another user in the South Indian city of Bangalore was equally shocked when he saw multiple addresses (including his old home address, where he no longer lives) and his date of birth is already preloaded on Tata Neu when he signed up. Uses a one-time password. What he found even more confusing was that his wife Tata New also had his old office address, which he said they never used for any purpose. “Personally, I am a big fan of the Tata Group, and have faith in the Tata brand,” said Naren, who requested the quote under the pseudonym for fear of the company’s response. “But that trust is shattered when they do these kinds of secret things in the name of user experience.”
Tata Neu launched in the first week of April and has received at least 2.2 million downloads. The app includes all of the company’s brands across industries such as ecommerce, financial services, airline tickets, groceries, pharmaceuticals and hotels. But the inclusion of preloaded personal data in a new app means that Tata Group has been able to save the data of its online and offline companies and create their profiles. According to privacy advocates, this is problematic because of the lack of explicit consent of users and the absence of a comprehensive data-protection law in India.
Tatas, with a market cap of over $ 300 billion at current exchange rates, has a strong offline presence across a wide range of sectors. But, until relatively recently, consumer technology has remained an unneeded market. So a few years ago, to compete with tech giants like Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart, Tata Alibaba-backed online grocery firm acquired its startups like Big Basket and Medicine Delivery Startup 1mg to build its digital profile, with an investment. . Health-and-Fitness Startup at Cult.Fit.