Govt examining WhatsApp's privacy policy update: Reports

WhatsApp's new policy will be evaluated in the context of the current legal framework

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 15, 2021 4:36 PM

Amid concern over WhatsApp's new privacy policy, the government has said that it is examining and evaluating the recent privacy policy update, according to multiple media reports.

The reports quote sources as saying that the IT Ministry is holding internal discussions over the implications of the recent move by WhatsApp.

The sources added that the issue needs to be looked at, in detail, given that concerns have been raised by a large section of users including some top business leaders.

WhatsApp's new policy will be evaluated in the context of the current legal framework. The IT Ministry is expected to approach WhatsApp seeking an explanation on the matter.

WhatsApp has tried to assure users by saying that its latest policy update does not affect the privacy of messages on the platform. In a blog post earlier this week, WhatsApp emphasised that it does not share users' contact lists or data of groups with Facebook for advertisement purposes.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp Head Will Cathcart on Thursday said that the platform is open to answering any questions from the Indian government on the issue, and is aware that the company will have to "compete" for users' trust with rivals such as Signal.

"We remain available to answer any questions and to explain our continued commitment to the privacy and security of users across India," he said.

Cathcart further stated that the Facebook-owned company remains committed to the privacy and security of users across India, and will continue to explain to users that their messages are end-to-end encrypted.

"We know we have to compete for users' trust when it comes to privacy, and that's very good for the world. People should have choices in how they communicate and feel confident that no one else can see their chats," Cathcart said.

Cathcart said WhatsApp has not seen a big impact on its user base due to the controversy. "No. We're grateful that people continue to use and trust WhatsApp to communicate... We think competition on privacy is good because it will help make apps even more private and secure in the future, he added.

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