New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) Sweden-headquartered phone directory app Truecaller Wednesday said it is locally storing the Indian users’ data to ensure transparency and provide faster and more reliable services. Also Read - Mumbai Reports 7,214 Fresh COVID-19 Cases, 9,641 Recoveries | Highlights

“Truecaller is one of the first international tech companies to proactively take the step of storing its Indian users’ data locally in India. This is a user-centric move that is aimed at safeguarding personal data and encouraging more transparency in the ecosystem,” Truecaller said in a statement. Also Read - Delhi Reports 23,686 New COVID-19 Cases, 240 Deaths; Active Cases Reach 76,887

With locally stored data, and significant investments in its Indian infrastructure, Truecaller has also doubled the search result speed for its core services like caller ID and spam detection, it added. Also Read - PhonePe Beats Google Pay Again, Becomes Top UPI Mobile App in December

Truecaller pointed out that it was already storing payments data of its Indian users, who use its unified payment interface (UPI)-based payment service in India.

The RBI, in April last year, had issued a circular instructing all payments system providers in the country to ensure that data relating to systems operated by them is stored only in India and had set a deadline of October 15, 2018.

The central bank’s data localisation policy had elicited mixed response from the payment services industry. While some of the prominent domestic payment companies like Paytm and PhonePe have been supportive of the dictum, global players like Google (that offers Google Pay) had argued for free movement of data.

“Payments as a vertical was built from scratch entirely out of India last year after the acquisition of the Indian payments start-up Chillr. This made Truecaller fully compliant to RBI’s data localisation norms from the start, compared to other international entities,” the statement said.

The Stockholm-headquartered company has over 250 million users globally, of which more than 150 million users are in India.

“This (move) safeguards our user’s privacy and is our way of showing commitment towards our users and their data while being compliant with laws of the geographies we operate in,” Truecaller co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Nami Zarringhalam said.

He added that post the acquisition of Chillr in June last year, Truecaller has half of its headcount in India.

The Indian government is also crafting a personal data protection bill that moots seeking “explicit consent” for processing ‘sensitive personal information’ like religious or political beliefs, sexual orientation and biometric details, defines obligations of data processors as also rights of individuals, and proposed penalties for violation.

The draft of Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 — drafted by a high-level panel headed by Justice B N Srikrishna — also restricts and imposes conditions on the cross-border transfer of personal data.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.