WhatsApp, which is facing the music from the government over its controversial privacy update, has reaffirmed that personal messages of users continue to be completely encrypted. It reiterated that the proposal is only geared towards making business messaging effective.
"We wish to reinforce that this update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook. Our aim is to provide transparency and new options available to engage with businesses so they can serve their customers and grow," the company said.
WhatsApp added that it will always protect personal messages with end-to-end encryption so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see them. "We are working to address misinformation and remain available to answer any questions," it added.
The letter noted that with over 400 million users in India, the changes will have a disproportionate impact on the country's citizens, it said. It has also asked WhatsApp to provide details of the services provided by it in India, categories of data collected and permissions and consents sought.
The new terms caused an outcry among technology experts, privacy advocates, and users and triggered a wave of defections to rival services such as Signal and Telegram. Under the updated policy, it has the right to share data it collects from WhatsApp users with the broader Facebook network, which includes Instagram, regardless of owning any accounts or profiles there.
Some businesses, as per the new policy, were to use Facebook-owned servers to store messages. This triggered an outcry regardless of WhatsApp's assertion that all private messages between friends and family members remain end-to-end encrypted.