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WhatsApp privacy policy: IT Ministry directs company to withdraw new policy

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Highlights:

  • IT ministry directs the company to withdraw the new privacy policy.
  • The govt has given seven days to WhatsApp to respond to the notice.
  • The Ministry has also taken the same stand in the Delhi High Court.

The electronics and information Ministry has directed WhatsApp to withdraw its new privacy policy. The ministry believes that the values of Indian citizens have been harmed by the new policy.

The Changes to the privacy policy and the manner of introducing the changes including by way of FAQ  undermine the values of privacy, data security, and user choice.

The govt has given seven days to WhatsApp to respond to the notice and if no satisfactory response is received, necessary steps in accordance with the law will be taken by the govt.

The company has received an intense backlash on social media from users as well as privacy-focused groups that have called that this update may make sharing data between Facebook and WhatsApp more prominent.

The IT Ministry said in a statement:

“WhatsApp earlier claimed that it officially deferred its new Privacy Policy beyond 15th May 2021. However, “Deferral of the privacy policy beyond 15th May 2021 does not absolve WhatsApp from respecting the values of informational privacy, data security and user choice for Indian users.”

It has stated that: “As you are doubtlessly aware, many Indian citizens depend on WhatsApp to communicate in everyday life. It is not just problematic, but also irresponsible, for WhatsApp to leverage this position to impose unfair terms and conditions on Indian users, particularly those that discriminate against Indian users vis-α-vis users in Europe.”

WhatsApp privacy policy violates Indian IT law, Centre tells court

During a court proceeding where several PILs challenging the latest privacy policy of WhatsApp, the Centre told a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh in the Delhi High Court that, the new privacy policy of WhatsApp violates IT law.

In an earlier court proceeding around WhatsApp’s privacy policy, the Centre had told the court that WhatsApp was treating its Indian users differently as European users have been spared from the new policy.

The Centre also told the court that it has written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the issue, and they are waiting for a reply.

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