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WhatsApp responds to Indian Govt letter, calls new privacy policy a transparency measure

Reacting to the letter by Ministry of information and Technology, WhatsApp has said that it is ready to address any misinformation around its updated policy and remains available to answer all the questions.

twitter-logoManas Tiwari | January 20, 2021 | Updated 16:42 IST
WhatsApp Policy
The instant messaging platform said that it is committed to protecting personal messages with end-to-end encryption.

Highlights

  • WhatsApp reacts to government letter.
  • Platforms says open to answering questions.
  • WhatsApp says committed to protecting user data.

Reacting to the letter by Ministry of information and Technology, WhatsApp has said that it is ready to address any misinformation around its updated policy and remains available to answer all the questions. In a statement shared with India Today Tech, the instant messaging platform said that it is committed to protecting personal messages with end-to-end encryption and re-emphasized that neither WhatsApp or Facebook can read them.

"WhatsApp 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," a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

It further added that the new policy doesn't expand WhatsApp ability to share data with Facebook. This means the user data remains safe.

"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 spokesperson said.

The reaction comes a day after MEITY had written a letter to WhatsApp asking it to keep Indian users out of the new privacy policy and the new terms and conditions that users have to accept to use the app. In its letter to WhatsApp MEITY has raised several questions and objections. The letter notes that sharing of some data including business data generated with WhatsApp with Facebook will weaken the information security of the users.

Since the policy was first rolled out, several questions have been asked around it, which even forced the platform to delay the roll out by three months. The biggest objection raised by the MEITY includes the non-voluntary nature of the new policy. Users will have to accept it or else they will not be able to use WhatsApp, and MEITY says that this lack of choice is unfair to users.

The letter also talks about the Supreme Court judgment on privacy delivered in 2017 and the proposed data protection law. It notes that in this context, WhatsApp coming out with a policy that allows for more data exchange between Facebook and WhatsApp is untenable because the proposed bill allows collection and usage of data for only specific services, and that data collected from one service cannot be used in another service.

Since the announcement of the new policy, several users have switched to other platforms like Signal and Telegram which are claimed to be more secure.

Also Read | Govt tells WhatsApp to withdraw new privacy policy for Indian users, sends a letter to CEO

Also Read | EXCLUSIVE: Users ditching WhatsApp shows Indians care about privacy, says Signal's Brian Acton

Also Read | WhatsApp new policy: Delhi High Court says it is a private app, don't use if you don't like it

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