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Govt asks WhatsApp to withdraw revised privacy policy

technology | IST

Govt asks WhatsApp to withdraw revised privacy policy


The government has written to WhatsApp asking it to withdraw its new privacy policy. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in a letter directed the Facebook-owned instant messaging app to withdraw its revised privacy policy within seven days by May 25.

The government on Wednesday asked WhatsApp to withdraw its new privacy policy within seven days by May 25. 

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, in a letter to Facebook-owned WhatsApp, warned that there are “various options” available to it under Indian law to take action against the US tech giant. 
MeitY in its letter mentioned that the postponement of WhatsApp’s revised policy, which earlier had a deadline of May 15, does not absolve the company from respecting legal and compliance issues surrounding privacy, data security, and user’s choice.
The revised policy allows WhatsApp to share data with  Facebook, the instant messaging app’s parent company.
According to MeitY, the revised policy and the manner in which it was introduced, completely undermines the privacy, data security, and preference for users across the country. Many Indians rely on WhatsApp for communicating on a daily basis.
"The ministry is cognizant of this problem. Today, Germany has banned this privacy policy of WhatsApp. The ministry is proactively looking at what we can do about it," MeitY Special Secretary and Financial Advisor Jyoti Arora recently said at an Assocham event, reported PTI.
The ministry termed the policy discriminatory for Indian users when compared to users of the messaging app in Europe. It is irresponsible of WhatsApp to leverage its unique position in the Indian messaging ecosystem to impose unfair terms and conditions, it added.
As Whatsapp’s revised privacy policy stands in violation of Indian laws, the government is considering various options available to it under the prevailing law. If Mark Zuckerberg’s instant messaging app fails to submit a satisfactory response, the Centre will go ahead with legal proceedings. The matter is sub-judice in Delhi High Court.

WhatsApp has been facing flak ever since it introduced its new privacy policy and terms of use. The Competition Commission of India has directed a probe against the firm while numerous writ petitions have also been lodged against it. The company recently lost a case in Germany where the country had banned WhatsApp from sharing its info with Facebook in accordance with the same policy that is being opposed in India.

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