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This article was published on May 19, 2021


WhatsApp has 7 days to respond to India’s privacy policy complaint

WhatsApp has seven days to respond to the ministry's notice

WhatsApp has 7 days to respond to India’s privacy policy complaint
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Update (19/05/2021 8.30 PM IST):  In a statement, WhatsApp said, “We continue to engage with the government and we reaffirm what we said before that this update does not impact the privacy of personal messages for anyone. Our goal is to provide information about new options we are building that people will have, to message a business on WhatsApp, in the future.”

India has written a letter to WhatsApp asking it to withdraw its newly rolled out privacy policy. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has noted that this new policy violates several laws and rules.

MEITY has given WhatsApp seven days to respond to this notice with a deadline of 25 May. It added that if the response from the Facebook-owned company is not satisfactory, the government can take lawful actions against the social networking giant. This is METIY’s second letter to WhatsApp after it made similar demands in January.

To recap, WhatsApp introduced its new privacy policy through a pop-up on the app in January. However, after the severe backlash, the company first delayed the rollout to February 8 and then eventually to May 15. The change aims to better facilitate conversations with businesses and data exchange between Facebook’s family of apps.

Last week, the firm said that it won’t delete anyone’s account if they haven’t accepted the privacy policy. But it’ll give constant reminders and take away core functionalities after several weeks of non-acceptance.

One of the government’s prime arguments is that Indian users are treated with biased as compared to European users who have a choice to opt-out. However, India currently doesn’t have a GDPR-like data protection law.

 

After Germany banned the new WhatsApp policy rollout last week, MEITY said that it’s proactively looking for different solutions and actions to preserve Indian users’ privacy.

India is WhatsApp’s biggest market in the world with more than 450 million monthly active users, and the app will probably do everything in its power from getting blocked.

We’ve asked WhatsApp for a response, and we’ll update the story if we hear back.

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