India reportedly asked WhatsApp to withdraw its privacy policy update

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The WhatsApp messaging app will appear on Apple iPhones on May 14, 2019 in San Anselmo, CA. Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp has announced a cybersecurity breach that makes users vulnerable to malicious spyware installations on iPhone and Android smartphones. WhatsApp encourages 1.5 billion users to update their apps as soon as possible.

The Indian Ministry of Technology has asked Facebook-owned messaging giant WhatsApp to withdraw planned changes to its privacy policy. This has created widespread backlash, reports several media outlets.

Will Cathcart dated in an email addressed to WhatsApp Chief On January 18, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said the proposed changes raised “significant concerns” about the impact on Indian people’s choices and autonomy, according to Reuters.

This update is specifically related to the ability to allow users to interact with their business on WhatsApp.

The ministry said it was concerned that Indian users would not have the option to opt out of WhatsApp’s planned policy updates compared to European users with stricter data protection regulations. The Ministry of Technology reportedly called it “a betrayal of the lack of respect for the rights and interests of Indian citizens” and “discriminatory treatment.”

“Therefore, we are being asked to withdraw the proposed changes,” the ministry said, according to Reuters. Newswire added that the ministry asked WhatsApp to answer 14 questions, including the types of user data it collected. This is when you profile a user based on their usage habits and cross-border data flow.

CNBC was unable to independently verify the contents of the letter.

A spokeswoman for WhatsApp told CNBC in a statement, “I would like to emphasize that this update does not extend the ability to share data with Facebook.”

“Our aim is to provide transparency and new options for businesses to serve and grow their customers. WhatsApp always protects personal messages with end-to-end encryption, and WhatsApp too. Facebook will also make the message unrecognizable, “said a spokeswoman. Said.

What is the update?

WhatsApp later stated that the update does not change the end-to-end encryption of personal conversations, which means that the app and Facebook can’t display private messages. WhatsApp also said it would not share people’s contacts with Facebook.

WhatsApp was scheduled to begin encouraging users to agree to the updated terms on February 8th in order to continue using the app. Since then, Facebook-owned apps have postponed the implementation of planned policy updates until May 15, giving people more time to “check policies at their own pace.”

India is a huge market for WhatsApp

India is one of the largest markets for WhatsApp with over 400 million users. The company’s plans for this country go beyond just messaging. Since last year, users have been able to send money via the app.

Whether it’s WhatsApp, Facebook, or any other digital platform, you’re free to do business in India … but you can do it without affecting the rights of Indians.

Ravi Shankar Prasad

Minister of Technology of India

“This has become a platform for many things. SMEs and businesses use WhatsApp to share commerce, payments and payroll data,” said the Toronto-based Center for Future Innovation (CIF). Said Abishur Prakash, a geopolitical specialist at. The consulting firm told CNBC by email. “This makes WhatsApp, an American service, a new kind of infrastructure for doing business in India.”

According to Prakash, the risk of WhatsApp in India is very high. He explained that the messaging giant could change its policy “due to the strategic position India holds in its strategy.”

Looking through technology sovereignty and data lenses, New Delhi wants to establish its own data boundaries after large technology companies promote an open data market that shares information with Indian companies. “This creates a new WhatsApp policy that goes against the direction of New Delhi.”


On Tuesday, Indian tech minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had some choices for Facebook, WhatsApp, and other tech companies operating in India.

“You are free to do business in India, whether it’s WhatsApp, Facebook, or any other digital platform,” he said at a virtual event. “But do it without compromising the rights of the Indians working there.”

“And we need to maintain the sacredness of personal communication,” he added. “We know there will be pressure to share (data), but this is clearly unacceptable.”

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