Monday, June 14, 2021

India Pushes WhatsApp To Drop Its New Privacy Policy With Legal Threat

The Indian government has told WhatsApp in a letter to drop its updated privacy policy, threatening legal action if it doesn’t receive a satisfactory response soon from the messaging platform.

Over the last few months, WhatsApp has been embroiled in worldwide privacy controversy after announcing it would require users to give it permission to share their data with parent company Facebook. The company insists that the policy change would only affect users who message businesses on its platform.

India, however, is having none of that. According to Reuters, the country’s technology ministry (which sent the letter) wants a response from the company by 25 May, threatening legal action if the latter doesn’t comply with India’s Information Technology Act.

“In fulfilment of its sovereign responsibility to protect the rights and interests of Indian citizens, the government of India will consider various options available to it under laws in India,” the ministry said in its letter to WhatsApp, according to TechCrunch.

WhatsApp said in a statement that it was continuing to engage with the Indian government, and reiterated that its updated privacy policy would not affect the secrecy of personal messages.

Delhi’s strong opposition to the policy update puts WhatsApp in quite the pickle: India is the platform’s largest market by far, home to over 500 million of its users. As anger broke out across the country over its new policy, WhatsApp hastily blanketed Indian newspapers with ads claiming that “WhatsApp respects and protects your privacy”.

WhatsApp has already been prodding users to accept the policy change, stating that they otherwise would face greatly reduced functionality on the app.

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