WhatsApp Privacy Policy Change-India to Investigate

WhatsApp’s planned policy changes aren’t sailing smoothly quite a number of users and India; the instant messaging service’s biggest market by users has decided to take the fore front to display their dissatisfaction with evident steps. Indian antitrust body, Competition Commission of India, reportedly ordered an investigation into WhatsApp’s privacy policy changes on Wednesday, saying that Facebook-owned service breached local antitrust laws in the guise of a policy update.

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.”

If you have had the time to read through the WhatsApp’s “take-it-or-leave-it” nature of privacy policy and terms of service; you will angry with the Indian Antitrust department that it is very important to carry out detailed investigation in view of WhatsApp’s market position and market power.  

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.

“As per the 2021 update to the privacy policy, a business may give third-party service provider such as Facebook access to its communications to send, store, read, manage, or otherwise process them for the business. It may be possible that Facebook will condition provision of such services to businesses with a requirement for using the data collected by them. The DG may also investigate these aspects during its investigation.”

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?

Drop a comment. 

 

 

Author

Alabi Olusayo

A calm, calculative, and easy-going individual with the ability to perform excellently in any position of intellect. A web designer/ developer, Digital Marketer, Brand Manager, Content developer, and Affiliate Manager. He is more of a listener than a talker with the passion for and to do things of God.

I find myself contented with Godly and goodly blessings with relentless efforts towards fulfilling purpose.

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