This update to WhatsApp’s policies has raised concerns of privacy violations and led to a probe being conducted by India’s competition regulatory body.
Appearing on behalf of WhatsApp and speaking about the new policy, Senior Advocate Harish Salve said, “We voluntarily agreed to put it on hold… we will not compel people to accept.” However, Salve said that messaging platform would still continue to display the update to its users, the report stated.
“The commitment is that I will not do anything till the parliamentary law comes. Obviously then if parliamentary law comes, you have to fit within that law. If Parliament allows me to have a separate policy for India, I will have it. If it does not allow me, then bad luck. I will then have to take a call,” Salve said, according to The Indian Express.
The new policies are largely expanded and better-explained versions of their existing conditions, albeit with some additions. The most notable addition includes WhatsApp’s integration into the Facebook family of products and more data-sharing with Facebook.
It allows WhatsApp to share any information identified in the policy’s extensive “Information We Collect” section. Additionally, messages to WhatsApp Business accounts could potentially be shared with third-party service providers, which could include Facebook itself.
This free flow of data between Facebook apps would theoretically allow the company to understand user preferences and profiles, helping them improve their ad targeting algorithms.
Timeline of key events
January 4, 2021: WhatsApp began alerting its users globally with an in-app notification about updates to its terms of service and privacy policies. It told users that those who do not consent to its changed policies will be unable to use the application after February 8, 2021.
January 19: IT Ministry writes a letter to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart asking to withdraw proposed changes to WhatsApp’s terms and conditions.
February: WhatsApp starts displaying banners in the app with information about the changes to address the backlash.
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