Shanmugam also asked if India has provisions such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to protect and regulate personal data. MEITY pointed to the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, which is currently being considered by a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
Whatspp’s new policy: Why the ruckus?
At the start of the new year, WhatsApp sent in-app notifications to users in India, showing them the new terms of service and privacy policies. The company told users they would have to accept the policies by February 8, 2021, failing which they would lose access to WhatsApp altogether.
- No choice for Indian users: Indian users do not have the option to opt out of the data sharing agreements, a choice users in the European Union do. This is largely because of stricter regulations on personal data in the EU. This distinction is something the government is said to have flagged in its letter to WhatsApp.
The policy update prompted an out-migration of WhatsApp users to Signal and Telegram. Soon enough, WhatsApp announced that it would be deferring the policy. However, the company didn’t say it would review or change the policy, indicating that it wished to keep the policy unchanged. Instead, the company said it is giving people more time to review the policy.
- WhatsApp users get prompt to accept new terms, privacy policies