December 7, 2023

Centre reiterates demand for withdrawal of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy

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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has again directed messaging app WhatsApp to take back its new privacy policy and demanded a reply within seven days, official sources said on Wednesday.

“WhatsApp had earlier claimed that it officially deferred its new ‘Privacy Policy’ beyond May 15.

However, the Ministry in its communication today stated that deferral of the privacy policy beyond May 15 does not absolve WhatsApp from respecting the values of informational privacy, data security, and user choice for Indian users,” sources told ANI.

They said that in a communication sent to WhatsApp on May 15, the Ministry has once again told WhatsApp to withdraw its ‘Privacy Policy 2021’ as the “changes to the privacy policy and the manner of introducing these changes including in FAQ undermines the sacrosanct values of informational privacy, data security and user choice for Indian users and harms the rights and interests of Indian citizens.”

The Ministry has also taken the same stand in the Delhi High Court, where this matter is sub-judice.

Sources said that taking up the issue of discriminatory treatment to Indian users vis-a-vis users in Europe, the Ministry has further 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-a-vis users in Europe.”

“Ministry in its communication has drawn the attention of WhatsApp as to how its new Privacy Policy is a violation of several provisions of the existing Indian laws and rules.

In fulfillment 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 government has given seven days time to WhatsApp to respond to his notice and if no satisfactory response is received, necessary steps in consonance with the law will be taken,” sources added. (ANI)

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