WhatsApp defiant, won’t withdraw privacy update

Lawrence Kim
May 26, 2021

WhatsApp now says that if a user does not want to update to the new norms, the person's app will not lose any functionality, though the user will surely be sent reminders to step up.

The Federal Government has kicked over WhatsApp's updated privacy policy, stating that it would engage the owners, Facebook, on perceived gray areas.

Days after the government directed the Facebook-owned platform to withdraw its controversial user privacy policy, a WhatsApp spokesperson said the company has responded to the Government of India's letter and has assured them that the privacy of users "remains our highest priority", reported BGR India. WhatsApp also said its update did not change the privacy of peoples' personal messages.

WhatsApp earlier this year said users would have to review its updated terms by February 8 but delayed the rollout of new business features to mid-May following a global user backlash over the company's data-sharing practices.

The world's largest messaging platform had started enforcing its new policy from 15 May, despite concerns from users and the government, and a court case against it. WhatsApp has claimed on multiple occasions, including on Monday, that the policy does not change privacy of people's personal messages. This will go on at least until India's forthcoming Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill goes into effect, which seeks to limit the collection of personal and sensitive data. WhatsApp has now responded to the Indian government and stated that they stand by the policy and also highlighted that all chats are secure.

The data include user phone numbers, "transaction data, service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using our services, mobile device information and your IP address". "Its objective is to provide additional information about how people can interact with businesses if they choose to do so", a WhatsApp spokesperson said, in a statement.

Earlier last week, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had sent a notice to WhatsApp, calling its new privacy policy "discriminatory", "unfair" and "irresponsible". Since then, the company has been reminding users to accept the privacy policy update or lose several key functions. In the latest statement, WhatsApp has confirmed that nothing of that sort will happen, which means that users who don't accept the policy will not lose access to any feature in the long run.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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