WhatsApp continues to defy India over data-sharing rulesWhatsApp continues to defy India over data-sharing rules
Messaging giant WhatsApp's controversial policy, which allows user data to be shared with parent company Facebook and others, is in the spotlight again.
May 14, 2021
Messaging giant WhatsApp's controversial new policy, allowing it to share user data with parent company Facebook and others, is in the spotlight again.
The company recently said that it would not delete the accounts of users who don't accept the changes, backtracking on its original statement.
In reality, there seems to be little choice, as WhatsApp will stop delivering messages and calls after a set number of reminders to accept the new terms and conditions.
Users will be able to see the latest messages but will not be able to respond or access the message thread. Essentially, they must choose to either accept the terms or make do with limited functionality.
The company introduced the new terms in January 2021. The changes allow it to share user data, including location and payment information, with Facebook and other companies.
Significantly, it made it mandatory for users to accept the new terms to continue using the messaging service. However, backlash from customers who started moving to rival services like Telegraph and Signal forced the company to postpone implementing the rules from February 8 to May 15, 2021.
The company continues to face massive pressure to withdraw the rules. Central government wrote to WhatsApp in January asking them to cancel the change, while urging the Delhi High Court to restrain WhatsApp from implementing the new rules.
WhatsApp is also facing a probe from the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which took a suo moto cognizance (a unilateral move by a court or other regulatory body in India) of the issue earlier this year. Media reports indicate the Indian Electronics and IT Ministry is considering all options to address the issue of the platform's new policy.
WhatsApp alleged that other apps like Zomato, Ola and Aarogaya Setu collate similar data and have similar privacy laws in a recent court hearing.
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