This Article is From Jan 20, 2021

After India's Letter, WhatsApp Says New Privacy Policy For "Transparency"

A WhatsApp spokesperson said, "We are working to address misinformation and remain available to answer any questions"

After India's Letter, WhatsApp Says New Privacy Policy For 'Transparency'

WhatsApp's new policy allows sharing of user data with Facebook or third party apps.

New Delhi:

Social media platform WhatsApp underscored today that its proposed privacy policy is not meant to enhance data sharing but provide options to help businesses expand. The reiteration came following the government's letter to Will Cathcart, the Global CEO of WhatsApp, asking that the new policy for Indian users be withdrawn. The new policy --  which allows sharing of user' data with its parent company Facebook or third party apps -- was slated to come into effect in February but has been deferred till May after the growing row.

"We wish to reinforce that this update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook," a spokesperson from WhatsApp said today.

"Our aim is to provide transparency and new options available to engage with businesses so they can serve their customers and grow. WhatsApp will always protect personal messages with end-to-end encryption so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see them. We are working to address misinformation and remain available to answer any questions," the spokesperson said.

Writing in the backdrop of a proposed law for Personal data protection, the technology ministry raised concerns about sharing of users' metadata, saying it would form a "honeypot of information" which can create security risks and vulnerabilities for users.

It also questioned the social media platform's "all or nothing approach" which forces users to accept the new policy.

The ministry asked 14 questions, including categories of user data collected, whether it profiled customers based on usage and cross-border data flows.

Concerns over WhatsApp's privacy policy have reached the Delhi High Court, which in a hearing on Monday said the users were free to join other messaging platforms.  

It is a private app. Don't join it. It is a voluntary thing, don't accept it. Use some other app," Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said in response to a  petition that contended that the updated policy violates the users' Constitutional right to privacy.

The plea has claimed that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp allows full access into a user's online activity without any government supervision.