The Indian Director General has been ordered by the Indian watchdog to investigate and submit report within 60 days on WhatsApp’s new policy to “ascertain the full extent, scope and impact of data sharing through involuntary consent of users.”
With this kind of market influence, WhatsApp is in a position to conveniently compromise quality in terms of protection individual user’s data and even go to an extent of giving users the free will to opt out without the fear of erosion of its database. However, if a user decides not to continue with WhatsApp, there is a possibility of losing historical data as porting such data is near impossible due to its cumbersome and time- consuming nature of the process. This makes it really difficult for users to switch to a related app.
This moves for the DG to investigate follows months of legal battle in India by WhatsApp over the new policy update which takes effect in May,2021. The Indian Government last week alleged that the planned privacy update violates local laws on several counts which has made the Government to ask the court to prevent WhatsApp from rolling out this update in India.
Need to mention that earlier this year Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp was written to by the India’s IT ministry expressing their grave concerns about the update and its implications proposing that the proposed changes be withdrawn.
WhatsApp, from their own side has been making efforts in collaboration with New Delhi to allay the concerns expressed since early this year. As it seems, India doesn’t seem to be buying Facebook’s explanation. The Indian watchdog is of the opinion that Facebook is the immediate and direct beneficiary of the new updates. They further made it clear that it is not quite admirable that Facebook is feigning ignorance about the potential impact of the updates altogether and keeping mute on the issue.
With over 2 billion Users, WhatsApp has been sharing some information with parent firm Facebook since 2016 which hasn’t substantially updated its terms of service since, said last year that it will be making some changes to share a set of personal data of users — such as their phone number and location — with Facebook.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp asked users through an in-app alert to share their consent for the new terms in January, which prompted an immediate backlash from some users. Following the backlash — which saw tens of millions of users explore competing services such as Signal and Telegram — WhatsApp said it will give users three additional months to review its policy.
What do you think? Are the Indians and every other user with the same opinion raising dust over nothing?
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