Bharti Airtel Ltd on Monday, in a statement, attempted to address the 'breach of personal information' of its customers. The vital info divulgence, other than name and address proof, was called a "clerical error". This allegedly led to the sharing/use of sensitive customer data such as genetic data and sexual orientation.
"We emphatically confirm that we do not collect any personal information relating to genetic data, religious or political beliefs, health or sexual orientation, etc," the company said in a statement.
Airtel, however, has since removed the said policy from its website.
The telco blamed a "clerical error" for causing inadvertent sharing of information and, in fact, thanked the subscribers who flagged the issue.
"The generic content of the definitions of what constitutes personal data as laid down by the IT Act are expansive, which had been inadvertently put on to our website. This was a clerical error... We thank those who brought this error to our attention," the company said.
Though concerns over data privacy have been raised in the past by many activists and remain under scrutiny. The issue assumes more importance at present amid the India-China border standoff.
Tensions between the two nations escalated in June when 20 soldiers of the Indian Army were killed in a clash with Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. Since then, the government has taken several steps to bar trade with the neighbor, including the ban on more than 200 Chinese applications.
The department of telecommunications has also suggested telecom operators undertake network audits on security concerns over spyware and malware vulnerabilities.