Atmanirbhar Digital India Foundation (ADIF), a new formed Indian start-up alliance, has written to the Centre, asking it to conduct a data audit of WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook. The audit is to be focused on user data flowing outside of the country.
ADIF was constituted to fight with 'BigTech' firms such as Google and Facebook. ADIF is an internet body which was founded by local entrepreneurs and investors with the goal of creating a level playing field for Indian start-ups against 'BigTech' companies. ADIF expects to work with the government on the legal and regulatory aspects of policy making in lieu of the increasing competition to Indian start-ups from major US firms.
"Government may conduct an audit through CERT-In (government agency) to check any sharing of data of individual or business users with Facebook and its subsidiaries. Since WhatsApp proposes to share business interaction details of Indian customers with its group companies like Facebook, WhatsApp should be prohibited from offering any services which deal with personal sensitive data of Indian users," the note sent to IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad by ADIF read, according to The Times of India.
"WhatsApp has rolled out separate privacy and data sharing policies for Europe and India wherein the protections offered to EU citizens are far greater than those offered to Indian users. In fact, WhatsApp does not share data of its European Union users with Facebook for the purpose of improving its products or advertisements. This raises questions as to WhatsApp's intentions," the note to the IT minister added.