Indian government pressures WhatsApp to drop new privacy agreement

Whatsapp has run into new opposition to its plans to update its privacy policy, which would allow it to share data with Facebook.

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.

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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.

“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

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“The privacy policy offered by WhatsApp to its European users specifically prohibits the use of any information shared with a Facebook company for that companies’ own purposes, while this Clause is not present in the privacy policy offered to Indian users. This differential and discriminatory treatment of Indian and European users is attracting serious criticism and betrays a lack of respect for the rights and interest of Indian citizens, who form a substantial portion of WhatsApp’s user base.”

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.

via XDA-Dev

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