Indian Govt Asks WhatsApp to Withdraw its New Privacy Policy Update

Indian Govt Asks WhatsApp to Withdraw its New Privacy Policy Update

Users will now have an additional three months - till May - to review and adopt the new terms of service if they so choose.

The IT ministry in the letter has asked Whatsapp to withdraw the proposed policy, slamming its "all or nothing" approach which "leverages the social significance of the app to force users into a bargain".

It also asked the Facebook-owned company, used by as many as 400 million Indians, to respond to some critical queries on its privacy and data policy within a week, people aware of the matter said.

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

WhatsApp also ran front-page ads on several newspapers in India, where it has amassed over 450 million users, last week to explain the changes and debunk some rumors.

All details regarding Data Security Policy, Information Security Policy, Cyber Security Policy, Privacy Policy, and Encryption Policy.

Details of all the permissions and user content that is sought by the company.

MeitY has raised strong objections to the alleged differential treatment by WhatsApp to its users in India and the European Union, saying it shows lack of respect for the rights of Indian citizens, who form one of the largest user bases for the messaging app.

This, the letter said, will mean collection of vast amounts of highly invasive and granular.

"This approach has the potential to infringe on core values of data privacy, user choice and autonomy of Indian users", it said.

The updated policy terms were first announced by WhatsApp via an in-app notification, asking users to agree to those by February 8 or lose access to their accounts.

The notification from WhatsApp prompted a lot of confusion - and in some cases, anger and frustration - among its users, many of which have explored alternative messaging apps such as Telegram and Signal in recent weeks.

Though WhatsApp can not view messages between users due to the service's end-to-end encryption, Insider's Rob Price found evidence the Facebook-owned firm shared when users sleep and when they use the app to third-party apps.

This triggered an outcry regardless of WhatsApp's assertion that all private messages between friends and family members remain end-to-end encrypted.

New Delhi also shared disappointment with the timing of this update, which to be fair WhatsApp unveiled past year.

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