India’s largest budget hotel chain OYO has been facing backlashes against its actions from multiple sources for a while now.
Earlier, it was hoteliers raising their voices against the company’s malpractices of exploiting hotel chains and compromising on customer security by converting residential places into hotels.
Now, the Gurugram-based company’s move to digitize the arrival and departure register and allow the government to obtain that information in real time is being questioned by customers and experts equally.
The fact that India does not have any privacy law and enforcement placed in the legal structure makes this development highly concerning as it creates a major privacy breach and enables the government to indulge in unnecessary surveillance.
A step taken by the company to create a stronger data security net by digitising the arrival and departure record creating a process and increasing an efficient system as opposed to the manual one has created the scope for these concerns.
This feature was already in place in several cities like Jaipur and states like West Bengal. However, these places saw customers hesitating in the use of OYO properties due to the very possibility of their activities being monitored by the respective state governments.
Overall, the company needs to make changes in policy regarding this new system so as to ensure that no privacy breach takes place for the customers to move forward on its path of becoming the largest budget hotel chain in the world.
India might not have a strong privacy law in place but several countries that the company operates in do. A potential privacy breach can cost the company a lot.
This development was first reported by ET.
Update: OYO Spokesperson has responded on this development negating any potential privacy breach due to the digitisation of the register.
As per Aditya Ghosh, CEO of Indian segment of OYO, the information on the digital register will only be shared with the authorities only when there is investigatory requirement on lawful grounds.
Information will only be shared with the person invested in the enquiry and presents the official letter demanding the same.