WhatsApp New Terms Concern Government About User’s Privacy

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The hot debate of WhatsApp’s new ‘Terms & Conditions’ has now the brought Indian government into the play as well. The social media giant recently updated its terms for app usage, which has left users with two choices; either to accept the new changes or bid farewell to the app. WhatsApp has given users time till February 8, 2021, to decide about the same. The Indian government is worried about the privacy of the users. According to a TOI report, the government is “collecting details” about the matter and looking at the changes that Facebook has introduced to the policy of WhatsApp which would share the data of users with the company.

Government Nervous About Lack of Data Protection Law in the Country

The Indian government is a little nervous because there is no regulatory framework backed by a solid data protection law to counter a situation such as this. The government is also working around why the European Union has got a lenient privacy policy from WhatsApp, but India has ‘wide-ranging terms’ that might harm user privacy.

The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill of 2019 is in the Parliament but is yet to be passed. It is a policy which looks after the privacy of the Indian users. At the same time, Europe has an active General Data Protective Regulation (GDPR), which puts a stringent law in place to protect users' privacy and data.

For the unaware, the new terms and conditions rolled out by WhatsApp gives the company a right to share the location data, phone number, usage pattern of the app, and more with Facebook and its suite of apps including Messenger and Instagram. Even the Payments data (precisely of the transaction) will be shared with the company.

The issue is currently being discussed in the IT Ministry, and action from the government body is expected soon. The government might question WhatsApp head-on about why these policies were necessary at this point.

However, it is worth noting that this isn’t the first time WhatsApp had a run-in with the Indian government. There is the ongoing matter of Cambridge Analytica data leak and the issue of spreading fake messages on WhatsApp. The company refused to help the government in any way, saying that its users’ chat data is end-to-end encrypted, which can’t be read or decrypted.

It will be interesting to see how the Indian government responds to this step from Facebook and WhatsApp. Whatever it will be, if you have any fear or issues using WhatsApp, you can either go with Telegram or Signal.

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