WhatsApp’s issues with its controversial policy update are now at risk of legal action in India, the largest market for instant messaging platforms owned by Facebook. The policy, which should come into effect on May 15th and allow the exchange of identifiable user data with Facebook, has forced the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to act again. In a letter sent to WhatsApp, the ministry asked the company to withdraw the proposed policy change and provide a response to justify its stance.
Meity to WhatsApp –
The policy postponement does not release WhatsApp from privacy, data security and user choice.
The treatment of Indian users is discriminatory against users in Europe.
– Chandra R. Srikanth (@chandrarsrikant) May 19, 2021
MeitY asked WhatsApp (via IndianExpress) Find a satisfactory answer within a week, and if not, the Ministry will be forced to appeal. The ministry argues that WhatsApp’s move undermines the concepts of privacy and data security for the Indian user base that’s over 400 million. The letter also asks why the policy update is being enforced for users in India while those in Europe are exempt.
What does WhatsApp have to say?
WhatsApp continues to claim that the policy update will not compromise the privacy of communications between users. However, the company appears adamant about enforcement Plus, users will continue to see in-app prompts to let them know what’s changing and how it will affect them.
“We continue to work with the government and reaffirm what we said earlier that this update will not compromise the privacy of personal messages for anyone. Our goal is to provide information about new options that we are developing to keep a company informed via WhatsApp in the future. Although the majority of users who have received the new Terms of Service have accepted them, we estimate that some people have not had the opportunity to do so. As a result of this update, no accounts were deleted on May 15th, and no one in India lost WhatsApp functionality either. “
WhatsApp previously said that if users do not accept the new terms, they will lose some key features, but the company now claims it has not yet done so, at least not for users in India. This is the second time India’s MeitY has issued a notice of the controversial change asking the company to withdraw it.