“…The new policy of WhatsApp proposes to share the metadata of users’ chat with business accounts with other Facebook companies. it might create a honeypot of data about users with Facebook group which may create security risks and vulnerabilities for users,” people conversant in the matter said, pertaining to what the Electronics and knowledge Technology Ministry communicated to WhatsApp.
“Ministry further objects to the all-or-nothing approach of WhatsApp that forces users to simply accept the new service terms and privacy policies, without giving an choice to the users to opt-out of this proposed change of integrating user data with other Facebook companies,” the people said.
WhatsApp on Friday last postponed its data-sharing about-face after users concerned about privacy fled the messaging service and flocked to rivals Telegram and Signal. The smartphone app, an enormous hit across the planet , cancelled its February 8 deadline for accepting the update to its terms concerning sharing data with Facebook, saying it might use the pause to clear up misinformation around privacy and security.
“Ministry has also objected to the differential privacy policies for European Union and India. as long as India has the most important user base for WhatsApp within the world, this discriminatory treatment to Indian users shows lack of respect for interests of Indian citizens by WhatsApp. during this context, government reminds WhatsApp that it’s a sovereign right to guard the interests of Indian citizens and it shall not compromise thereon at any cost,” people with knowledge of the matter said.
“Ministry has further asked WhatsApp on why they need caused such significant changes when the parliament of India is already considering the private Data Protection Bill. This bill, which is at an advance stage of consideration by the joint committee of both houses of the parliament, strongly follows the principle of ‘purpose limitation’ with reference to processing ,” they said.
The government has sent an inventory of 14 inquiries to WhatsApp on privacy and data security concerns. a number of the questions include asking WhatsApp to disclose the precise categories of knowledge that it collects from users in India, the permissions and user consent sought by the app and the way each of those would be used.
Encrypted messaging app Telegram has seen user ranks surge on the heels of the WhatsApp service terms announcement. Another encrypted messaging app Signal has also seen an enormous surge in demand, helped by a tweeted recommendation by billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.