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The company has already been forced to postpone the imposition of the new privacy agreement from February to May, allowing them more time to convince users that they are not planning to spy on them, and now the Indian government has demanded that they drop the plans completely.
The IT ministry has written a letter to Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp, noting that they had “grave concerns” over the impact of the changes on the autonomy and freedom of Indian citizens.
?? Be it WhatsApp, Facebook or any other digital platform they are free to do business in India but it should be done in a manner without impinging upon the rights of Indians who operate it. The sanctity of personal communications needs to be maintained: @rsprasad at #15IDS pic.twitter.com/p33qynU6Ur
— RSPrasad Office (@OfficeOfRSP) January 19, 2021
“This ‘all-or-nothing’ approach takes away any meaningful choice from Indian users. This approach leverages the social significance of WhatsApp to force users into a bargain, which may infringe on their interests in relation to informational privacy and information security,” said the ministry in the letter.
They also noted that the agreement offered to Indians was different than that offered to European citizens
India’s opposition to the change should have real impact, as WhatsApp is incredibly popular there, with the country having the most WhatsApp users worldwide.