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Koo founders say user data is secure on their app after hacker posts about leak on Twitter

Founders of Bengaluru-based Koo app say whatever data is visible is by the user's choice, and that claims of a personal data leak is 'invalid'.

Social media app Koo
Social media app Koo

New Delhi: A French hacker has claimed that data of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Niti Aayog and Republic TV on Koo — the new, homegrown social media app that has grabbed headlines in India — could be at risk of being leaked.

Hacker Elliot Alderson posted screenshots on Twitter as proof that Koo is “leaking” personal data of its users, including “email, dob [date of birth], name, marital status, gender”.

The tweet posted early on 11 February has been shared over 3,000 times since.

However, Koo’s founders Mayank Bidawatka and Aprameya Radhakrishna have denied the claims.

While Bidawatka told ThePrint it was an “invalid claim” and that “no such thing can be done … they can try it”, Radhakrishna posted on Twitter saying users “voluntarily” chose to show the data to everyone.

Radhakrishna further clarified that the company has now blocked public access to emails of users.

However, Anderson, in response to Radhakrishna’s tweet on user’s choosing to show certain personal details, said it was a “lie”.

The app by the Bengaluru-based company has suddenly become popular as an Indian alternative to Twitter as the US company faces off with the Indian government over the blocking of certain accounts.

Twitter is in hot water after it chose to reverse the suspension of some accounts as ordered by the Indian government. The government even issued a notice to Twitter, warning it of penal action if it didn’t comply.

Among these accounts are those that used a hashtag accusing the Modi government of planning farmers genocide, and had tweeted on the farmer protests. The government said some of these accounts had links to Pakistan and Sikh extremist groups.

Also read: Not Piyush Goyal or IT ministry — Republic TV is first handle on Koo app’s must-follow list

Govt uses Koo

Several government statements were issued on Koo Wednesday as a way of hitting back at Twitter. The information technology (IT) ministry issued an interim response to Twitter’s public blog about how the firm had dealt with blocking orders from the government.

Later in the day, the Press Information Bureau account shared the IT ministry’s statement after the ministry secretary held a virtual meeting with global Twitter executives later on 10 February.

The IT ministry statement said: “Lawfully passed orders are binding on any business entity. They must be obeyed immediately. If they are executed days later, it becomes meaningless. Secretary expressed his deep disappointment to Twitter leadership about the manner in which Twitter has unwillingly, grudgingly and with great delay complied with the substantial parts of the order. He took this opportunity to remind Twitter that in India, its Constitution and laws are supreme. It is expected that responsible entities not only reaffirm but remain committed to compliance to the law of land.”

Also read: Koo, made-in-India app govt is using to respond to Twitter & ministers are logging on to