India versus WhatsApp: What will the outcome be?

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India asks WhatsApp to withdraw changes to privacy policy

PTI

NEW DELHI, JANUARY 19, 2021 14:20 IST
UPDATED: JANUARY 19, 2021 14:20 IST

The Indian government has asked WhatsApp to withdraw the recent changes in the privacy policy of the messaging app, saying unilateral changes are not fair and acceptable.

In a strongly worded letter to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said India is home to the largest user base of WhatsApp globally and is one the biggest markets for its services.

The proposed changes to the WhatsApp Terms of Service and Privacy Policy “raise grave concerns regarding the implications for the choice and autonomy of Indian citizens,” it wrote.

The ministry asked WhatsApp to withdraw the proposed changes and reconsider its approach to information privacy, freedom of choice and data security.

Stating that Indians should be properly respected, it said, “any unilateral changes to the WhatsApp Terms of Service and Privacy would not be fair and acceptable.”

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/india-asks-whatsapp-to-withdraw-changes-to-privacy-policy/article33608260.ece?homepage=true

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WhatsApp faces a legal challenge in India over privacy…

14 Jan 2021 10:05PM

WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy verges on user surveillance and threatens India’s security, a petition filed in an Indian court said on Thursday, presenting another legal challenge for the Facebook Inc-owned messenger.

NEW DELHI: WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy verges on user surveillance and threatens India’s security, a petition filed in an Indian court said on Thursday, presenting another legal challenge for the Facebook Inc-owned messenger.

California-based WhatsApp said on Jan. 4 it reserved the right to share some data including location and phone number with Facebook and its units such as Instagram and Messenger.

That triggered outrage, including in its biggest market India where it has 400 million users.

The change has also met with a challenge in Turkey with the country’s Competition Board this week launching an investigation into the messaging service and its parent.
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“It virtually gives a 360-degree profile into a person’s online activity,” lawyer Chaitanya Rohilla said of Whatsapp’s new policy in the petition to the Delhi High Court.

A copy of the petition, seen by Reuters, said Whatsapp was jeopardizing national security by sharing, transmitting and storing user data in another country with the information thus governed by foreign laws.

“WhatsApp has made a mockery out of our fundamental right to privacy,” it said.

WhatsApp has given users a Feb. 8 deadline to agree to the new terms.

“This type of arbitrary behaviour and browbeating cannot be accepted in a democracy and is completely ‘ultra vires’ (beyond its powers) and against the fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution of India,” the petition added.

It will be heard by the Delhi High Court on Friday.

WhatsApp did not respond to a request for comment. It has previously said the policy update does not affect privacy of messages with friends and family, as group chats are encrypted and the changes only relate to interactions with businesses.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne) Source: Reuters

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