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Mitron App Crosses 1 Crore Downloads Riding #VocalForLocal, But What About Privacy?

Mitron App Crosses 1 Crore Downloads Riding #VocalForLocal, But What About Privacy?

After being banned from the Google Play Store, Mitron updated its privacy policy. However, the updated policy looks somewhat unsubstantiated, too.

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Mitron, the self-proclaimed 'Indian TikTok' that took social media by storm weeks ago before being suspended by Google, has crossed over 1 crore downloads on the Google Play Store. In a note shared with News18, Mitron's founder Shivank Agarwal has claimed that the app is “one of the fastest growing” on the Android store in India, and at the moment, is ranked above popular global short video social media platforms such as TikTok, or even the more holistic Instagram. However, while Agarwal and his colleague and Mitron's co-founder Anish Khandelwal may rejoice the new milestone, it remains important to note that the Mitron app seems far from failsafe and instantly trustworthy right now.

Agarwal and Khandelwal have, for starters, appear to have removed all mention of ‘ShopKiller e-Commerce’ from the app’s pages. They have also registered the Mitron.tv domain, and put up a full-page privacy policy document. However, one quick look through the policy shows that it is not purpose-built for Mitron. On the contrary, a quick search for plagiarism (of all things) shows that Mitron’s privacy policy is one that is generic, and may have been created using one of the myriad online privacy policy generators. While large chunks of Mitron’s overall privacy policy text is word for word identical to many others, the promoters of the app have strategically removed mention of any such disclaimer. Keeping the latter, in fact, would have appeared more responsible, since many may look at such online generators if a lean team is maintained.

However, what’s a bigger giveaway is that Mitron has offered privacy redressals for its users under the European General Data Protection Rights – a clause that does not even apply to Indian citizens. This seems like a farcical addition, since Mitron’s entire pledge is that it is an ‘Indian’ app, built from scratch ‘by’ Indians and purposed specifically ‘for’ Indians. A prior report by CNBC-TV18 had found that before being suspended, Mitron had hastily added a privacy clause that fell under Californian law, which too was completely meaningless for Indian users. The continued addition of hasty privacy policies is a worrying trend, and shows that the makers of the app do not particularly take the privacy issues seriously.

So far, the interface of Mitron looks largely the same as what was present before. However, Khandelwal has claimed that they have pushed six updates over the past one month, hence making the app different from what it offered before. Going forward, Khandelwal says that a number of “additional features” would be launched to Mitron in the coming months. With this in sight, it will be interesting to see if the new updates improve the app on overall terms.

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