WhatsApp directed by the Indian ministry to withdraw controversial policy update

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  • May 19,2021
  • 2 min read
  • 18

WhatsApp announced its controversial privacy policy update earlier back in January which when accepted allowed the company to share user data with the parent company Facebook. Since then, the Facebook-owned messaging giant has been facing criticism from its users and rivals.

According to a report by Techcrunch, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) sent a letter to WhatsApp today, directing it to withdraw the controversial privacy policy which is in effect from May 15. MeitY has provided the messaging app with seven days to come up with a "satisfactory" response, failure to which may evoke lawful measures against the company.

“In fulfillment of its sovereign responsibility to protect the rights and interests of Indian citizens, the government of India will consider various options available to it under laws in India,” the letter reads.

The Indian government had previously asked WhatsApp to pull back its policy but it hadn't paid any heed back then. The initial date to bring out the policy update was on February 8, however, widespread backlash by the users and governments resulted in the company delaying the date to May 15.

The ministry further questions as to why users in India have to comply with the new policy update when users in the EU have been exempted from it.

“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-à-vis users in Europe,” the ministry writes in the letter.


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