A girl from Chennai claimed that OlaCabs, famous as Ola, a mobile app for personal transportation in India, had sent personal information of more than 100 customers to her via SMS.
Swapnil Midha posted on Facebook that the Ola, which started as an online cab aggregator in Mumbai, now based out of Bangalore and is among the fastest growing businesses in India, leaked personal details such as mobile numbers, locations of users.
However, the company regarded it as a technical fault and confirmed that it has been fixed now.
“About three weeks ago, I booked an Ola cab for a long distance drive. After the ride I received a few garbled texts from "VM-OLACAB" that I didn't think much of and ignored. These messages were alpha-numeric with hashes and made no sense to me whatsoever. I assumed there was some system error and did not anticipate the sleep deprivation that followed,” she wrote on Facebook.
She added, “My phone beeped throughout the night. 1:06, 2:34, 2:37, 2:38, 4:05, 5:17. I couldn't get my head around why these were coming at these times. I then called their call centre the next day to explain that there was probably some sort of bug and my number had somehow gotten into their highly cryptic message transmission systems, whatever secrets they were trying to transmit.”
Although, the Ola assured her to fix the problem soon, she had been receiving SMS after SMS. She received text between 300 and 400.
“I received no further communication from them, no update, no email, just more garbled messages,” she explained. I reached out to them through every channel possible. I called their call centre at least 5 times, demanded to speak to the senior managers, and had to explain my problem each time in great detail, answering the same annoying questions.”
She said that the company shared personal details of their customers throughout the day and throughout the night.
“What scares me the most, is that THIS should be their number one priority. I questioned their lack of concern for privacy and data protection. I threatened to report them to the authorities and TRAI. Nothing seemed to work which makes you think - do they even care about protecting customer information? If they are sending all this to me, who are they sending MY booking details to? Whose number is receiving all of my data? Which creepy criminal knows my full name, my mobile number, my door number, my account details, when I'm home and when I'm out?” she added.
The girl has raised a serious question which the company concerned need to answer as soon as possible. If this, one of the most trusted companies like the Ola does such careless, what do we expect from others?