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WhatsApp extends the deadline to accept new terms of service to June 19 in some countries

WhatsApp has seemingly delayed its privacy policy for some countries including Germany and Argentina to June 19, 2021.

(Picture: Reuters) (Picture: Reuters)

WhatsApp has extended the deadline of its privacy policy for some countries to June 19, 2021. WhatsApp had previously kept February 8 as the deadline for users all over the world to accept the new terms of service, which got extended to May 15 after severe backlash and criticism. Now, WhatsApp features tracker WaBetainfo has noted that WhatsApp is announcing June 19 as the new date for some users as users in these regions are able to dismiss the alert with the new terms of service. Android and iOS users will have to accept the terms before the new deadline to avoid using the app without any limitation.

Earlier this month, Germany's lead data protection regulator had called WhatsApp's new terms of service "illegal". Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in Germany had previously said that Facebook has no legal basis for processing WhatsApp user data.

The data protection regulator alleged that WhatsApp is forcing people to accept the new privacy policy even though it has said that it would not delete the account of users. "Consent is not freely given, since WhatsApp demands acceptance of the new provisions as a condition for the continued use of the service's functionalities," it said. WhatsApp in its defence has said that the data regulator has misunderstood the purpose and effect of WhatsApp's update.

Meanwhile, in India, some WhatsApp users who have not accepted the new terms of service are facing difficulty accessing the calling feature. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, last week has given WhatsApp a week to roll back its new terms of service failing which it would take "necessary steps in consonance with law." The Communications Ministry had previously stated that WhatsApp's new terms of service violate IT law, to which WhatsApp had replied saying that the new privacy policy conforms with them.

WhatsApp in one of its FAQ has noted that it will not delete the accounts of users who do not accept the new terms of service by the May 15 deadline but will limit its functionality for users like accessing the chat list, receiving calls after which the message will become persistent. WhatsApp has also noted that messages between personal accounts will remain end-to-end encrypted and only the messages to special business accounts will be accessed for targeted advertising.

"For the last several weeks we've displayed a notification in WhatsApp providing more information about the update. After giving everyone time to review, we're continuing to remind those who haven't had the chance to do so to review and accept. After a period of several weeks, the reminder people receive will eventually become persistent," WhatsApp noted.

A WhatsApp Spokesperson told India Today Tech that the company will not discontinue the accounts of users who do not immediately accept its terms of service at least in the coming weeks. "We have responded to the Government of India's letter and assured them that the privacy of users remains our highest priority. As a reminder, the recent update does not change the privacy of people's personal messages. Its purpose is to provide additional information about how people can interact with businesses if they choose to do so. We will not limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works in the coming weeks. Instead, we will continue to remind users from time to time about the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook. We hope this approach reinforces the choice that all users have whether or not they want to interact with a business. We will maintain this approach until at least the forthcoming PDP law comes into effect," the company spokesperson said.