There has been all-round criticism of the move by Oyo Rooms to create and maintain a digital registry of its guestsâ€™ check in and check out details so that it can be accessed by the law enforcement authorities when required. According to an Economic Times report, this project has been kickstarted by Oyo in Kolkata and the company has plans to cover the other states as well.
While Oyo is defending its move and claims that the data will remain secure and will be provided to any investigative agency only upon their producing the relevant order under the law, those opposing the move say in the absence of a clearly laid-down privacy law in the country, it cannot be considered safe to rely on such data-sharing techniques.
Some customers have expressed their open dislike of the idea and have said they may not want to stay at an Oyo property again.
In response to the flak it received over the digital register, Oyo clarified that the exercise of collecting guest data to maintain an arrival departure register is a practice already prevalent across hotels in the country and is a mandatory requirement under law. While maintaining physical records is cumbersome and generally perceived with risk of tampering, Oyo has gone a step ahead and is helping digitize the information that is currently required to be collected by law to enhance authenticity of data, privacy and safety and security of its guests.
â€śWe share any limited information only when required by law and only when we are duty-bound or permitted to disclose personal information through orders or directions of government/regulatory bodies, law enforcement officials and court orders etc. There are multiple levels of technical security and control-based access built around our systems to ensure privacy of personal data of our guests and we deny the report on any security concern thereon. We once again would like to clarify that no department has access to guest information until required by law and is kept safe and secure,â€ť Aditya Ghosh, CEO, India & South Asia told TNM in an email statement.
A recent stealing of similar hotel guestsâ€™ data of millions of people from the servers of the Marriot chain of hotels in the USA might be rankling the minds of those who vehemently oppose this plan of OYO Rooms. Among those opposing the plan is the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) an NGO dedicated to total privacy on the internet.