WhatsApp asked by the Indian government to review its proposed privacy policy changes: Report

The Indian government has asked Facebook-owned instant messaging app WhatsApp to review its proposed privacy policy changes Minister of State for IT and Communications, Sanjay Dhotre has informed the Lok Sabha.

Dhotre in a written reply seen by PTI to the Lok Sabha stated that the “Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) took cognizance of the WhatsApp announcement of its new Privacy Policy stated to be applicable to Indian users. To safeguard the interest of Indian users, Meity has asked WhatsApp to review the proposed privacy policy changes and also to explain the rationale of the same.”

To recall, WhatsApp rescheduled the deadline for accepting the policy from February 8 to May 15 after a massive surge of global criticism over the privacy policy changes. The company in a public statement said that the delay was announced so that it can clear up any misinformation around user privacy and security.

After which, the company issued multiple statements that it will not see the private messages of its users or listen to their calls. All such conversation will be end-to-end encrypted. It has reiterated on the fact that it will only utilize data of people chatting with Business accounts, which will help them in serving targeted ads. It also stated that this new policy will legally bind a practice that has been widely in use since 2016.

According to an earlier PTI report, MeitY had sent a strongly worded letter to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart stating that the privacy policy changes “raise grave concerns regarding the implications for the choice and autonomy of Indian citizens.” It also added that the government body has asked the company to “reconsider its approach to information privacy, freedom of choice and data security.”

Written with PTI inputs.

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