Earlier on Tuesday, the Ministry of Information and Technology of India wrote a letter to the Facebook Inc. owned messaging app, WhatsApp’s CEO Will Cathart, in response to its newly amended set of rules and regulations relating to user privacy. In the letter, it apparently asked the app to not apply their new set of policies upon the Indian users and review them to make it like before.
Not just India, but nations and users around the world have expressed discontent over these changes and have not approved of them. Amidst such a response, WhatsApp has pushed it’s date of executing the changes from February 9 to May 15, claiming that it will allow users to accept the changes at their own pace and has also made attempts to clear misinterpretations relating to the same.
“We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security work on WhatsApp.”
WhatsApp made clarifications that the new changes do not change its way of handling a user’s messages, to their friends or family. Only the business messages would be subject to Facebook’s marketing strategy implementations.
MIETY has posed a number of questions and objections in it’s letter to the CEO of WhatsApp. As per the letter, the step taken by them will have a negative impact as it will weaken the information security of users. Also, the non-voluntary nature of these policies claiming that users who do not accept these will lose access to their accounts is another noticeable element. This lack of choice according to MEITY is completely unfair by nature for the users. The Indian Supreme Court had passed a judgement on privacy in 2017, alongside a proposed data protection law. MEITY reminded WhatsApp of the same and stated that the app is moving towards a higher pace of data exchange with Facebook which the law restraints. The law is against sharing of data by one service to another and allows sharing of data in only specified cases.
WhatsApp has responded to this letter by MEITY: “We wish to reinforce that this update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook. Our aim is to provide transparency and new options available to engage with businesses so they can serve their customers and grow.”