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Andy Mukherjee

When Data Privacy Became a Startup’s Nightmare

Twitter and Meta aside, the minefield of India’s digital laws make ordinary businesses quiver.

Vulnerable to abuse.

Vulnerable to abuse.

Photographer: Jasper James/The Image Bank RF via Getty

Twitter Inc. recently took the Indian government to court over what it views as “arbitrary” and “disproportionate” directions to take down content and block accounts. Last year, Meta Platforms Inc.’s WhatsApp began legal proceedings in New Delhi against India’s new internet rules demanding traceability of chats. Such an obligation, the messaging service contends, will force it to break its promise of end-to-end encryption, posing a serious risk to journalists and political activists.

Beyond those high-profile cases, though, a bigger worry is the deteriorating operational environment for ordinary digital businesses in India. Their rapid growth is routinely applauded, but the minefields they navigate on a daily basis don’t get enough attention.