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WhatsApp privacy policy row: Govt examining Facebook-owned app's latest update

The government has stepped in following privacy concerns over the Facebook-owned messaging app's new update which gives WhatsApp the right to share user data

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | January 14, 2021 | Updated 12:46 IST
WhatsApp privacy policy row: Govt examining Facebook-owned app's latest update
The Centre has already had many run-ins with Facebook and WhatsApp over numerous issues

The Centre is examining the new privacy policy update recently rolled out by global messaging platform WhatsApp asking users to agree to the messaging app's new privacy rules by February 8.

The government has stepped in following privacy concerns over the Facebook-owned messaging app's new update, which gives WhatsApp the right to share user data comprising contact list, phone number, location, etc. with Facebook and its entities such as Messenger and Instagram.

This has sparked concerns over user data and privacy, with many questioning the move. Entrepreneurs such as Tesla founder Elon Musk and some government agencies abroad have also called it out, citing Facebook's poor record in tackling user data.

Also Read: WhatsApp's new privacy policy "very confusing", says Signal co-founder Brian Acton

"We are collecting details," official sources told the Times of India, signalling the government is keeping a close watch over the fears and concerns around possible privacy violations in WhatsApp's new updates.

The government's concern reportedly stems from several factors, comprising the "regulatory vacuum" in the area of data protection in India as there is no data protection law in the country.

Although a bill for a data law-Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, is in the Parliament, the enaction of the final law may be sometime away.

Also Read: Signal App vs WhatsApp: Key features; all you need to know

A 30-member joint parliamentary committee has concluded clause-by-clause discussions on the legislation and is in the final stages of preparing it. The legislation may be tabled in the upcoming budget session of parliament which begins on January 29.

The Centre has already had many run-ins with Facebook and WhatsApp over numerous issues. Meanwhile, the current matter is being addressed at the highest level in the IT Ministry and the government may also seek some explanations from WhatsApp concerning its current privacy policy update.

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