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Centre asks WhatsApp CEO to withdraw new privacy policy

The government has written to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart, asking him to respect the privacy and data security of Indian users and withdraw new terms and privacy policies introduced by the messaging platform. The new WhatsApp policy that was supposed to be enforced from February 8, has been pushed by three months amid huge backlash.

The letter written by India’s Ministry for Electronics and Information and Technology said the new WhatsApp policy raises serious concerns regarding the implications for the choice and autonomy of Indian citizens. Stating about the privacy and safety of Indian citizens, the letter said any unilateral changes to the WhatsApp Terms of Service and Privacy would not be fair and acceptable. WhatsApp CEO has been asked to furnish responses to the government’s query regarding the privacy and data security of the Indian users.

WhatsApp on January 4 updated its privacy policy to allow it to share user data with its parent company Facebook and other group firms.

WhatsApp on January 4 updated its privacy policy that asked users to share their data and personal information with its parent company Facebook and other group firms. The personal data included user’s location and phone number. The messaging platform’s move triggered massive backlash across the world, thus led to surge in downloading other similar apps such as Telegram and Signal.

As per reports, the letter states that WhatsApp’s approach of having to either accept the terms or leave the platform takes away meaningful choice, and infringes on the interests of Indians in relation to informational privacy and data security. India is WhatsApp’s biggest market with 400 million users.

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However, WhatsApp, on its part, has maintained that messages on the platform are end-to-end encrypted and that neither WhatsApp nor its parent company Facebook can see the private messages on WhatsApp’s platform.

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