Central Govt Asks WhatsApp To Withdraw New Privacy Policy, Warns Of Action Over Non-Compliance: Report

Central Govt Asks WhatsApp To Withdraw New Privacy Policy, Warns Of Action Over Non-Compliance: ReportUnion Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via GettyImages) 

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITY) has warned messaging application WhatsApp to roll back its new privacy policy, implemented with effect from 15 May, failing to do which it will invite action under the country’s rules, Financial Express has reported.

WhatsApp has been given a week to respond to the notice sent on 18 May. Action may be taken against WhatsApp if the government does not receive any satisfactory response.

The government believes that that policy and the manner in which it was introduced subvert the values of information privacy, data security and user choices of Indian users.

Back in January, the government had already raised a strong objection to WhatsApp’s new privacy policy and termed it to be a ‘unilateral, unacceptable and unfair’ change. The freeware’s new blueprint aims to share commercial user data from WhatsApp to its parent company Facebook.

Its introduction was earlier postponed from 8 February to 15 May and the application has for now assured that accounts of users who do not agree to the new privacy policy will not be deleted, Financial Express reports.

The MeITY explained in its statement, “As you are doubtlessly aware, many Indian citizens depend on WhatsApp to communicate in everyday life. It is not just problematic, but also irresponsible, for WhatsApp to leverage this position to impose unfair terms and conditions on Indian users, particularly those that discriminate against Indian users vis-a-vis users in Europe.”

The issue has also been challenged in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court, though it is sub judice in the latter. So far, the courts haven’t stayed the implementation of the new policy.