GoI urges Whatsapp to withdraw its privacy policy update for Indians

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology wrote to the chief executive officer (Will Cathcart) of WhatsApp. The ministry requested him to pull back the most recent update. As per the ministry, the update enabled WhatsApp and other Facebook companies to make invasive and precise inferences about users.

Through an in-app alert, WhatsApp had requested clients to consent to new terms and conditions that allows the app to share personal data with Facebook such as phone number and location. Users were asked to comply with the policy before 8th of February or else their accounts shall be deleted. Following protests by both users and privacy activists, WhatsApp had on January 15 announced that it was delaying the implementation of the changes to May 15.

As per an official government letter, the Government of India was also concerned with the way in which Indian users have been made subject to these changes. The letter stated that Facebook is not providing Indian users with the ability to opt out of this data sharing with other Facebook companies. And by doing so, WhatsApp is treating users with an all-or-nothing approach.

Many parts of India have been expressing their disappointment with this update. The Ministry said that it was looking into the Personal Data Protection Bill, a privacy bill that is intended to direct how information of clients are imparted to the world.

India’s IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad gave a bold advice via twitter. In his tweet, he said no matter what the digital platform, a company was free to do business in India in a manner without impinging upon the rights of Indians who operate there.