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Reliance says allegations against Jio Chat ‘unfounded and malicious’

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MUMBAI: Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm has said that statements against its Jio Chat application, which alleged that it sends user information to China based servers, are “unfounded and malicious” and that it fanatically respects and adheres to the privacy, security, and confidentiality of its users’ information.

The Jio Chat app has seen over a million downloads since its launch earlier this year. Reliance Jio Infocomm believes that the analysis published was a deliberate attempt to sensationalize the issue by conveniently highlighting irrelevant portions of the APK script and malign this app.

“We have seen various comments online by anonymous users and other aliases that question the integrity and security of the Jio Chat app. As a rule, we prefer not to respond to gossip and innuendo; however, we want to assure our users that Jio Chat takes privacy and security very seriously,” Reliance Jio Infocomm said in a statement.

The company said that all Jio Chat data and associated servers are hosted physically in Reliance Jio data centers in India and no data travels outside of India from Jio Chat servers.

“As part of standard development practices, the code base has reference to a number of servers, in the comment area. This is not executable code, meaning these references are not used by the application while running. Proper and complete examination of the code would show that the app does not transfer data to any servers outside of India. Within the developer community, it is well understood that decompiled snippets of code is not indicative of how the application actually functions with respect to end users and associated data transfer. “Anonymous” posters often raise false alarms by quoting items such as this out of context,” the statement added.

Concern was also raised regarding references to Chinese map APIs. To counter this, the company said, “Jio Chat is a global application. It is well known that China does not support Google Maps (or for that matter, any Google applications). Thus, for location-based services within China, a Chinese-based mapping service is required. This is a common practice for any app wishing to provide location-based services within China. However, when used Globally, JioChat (outside of China) always uses Google Maps. (This can be checked by anyone by using Jio Chat Location Sharing function).”

The company further clarified that Jio Chat was developed by developers across the world, including India. “Occasionally these developers use their native language while writing comments within the APK to better understand the problem. We are committed to having the best talent working on our products, regardless of race, nationality, gender, or native tongue. India embraces diversity, and, as a company, we do too,” the company said.    

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