Thursday, July 18, 2024

India Stepping Up Pressure on WhatsApp Over Privacy Changes

India is ramping up its pressure on WhatsApp, wanting the company to abandon its recent privacy changes.

Facebook unleashed a firestorm of controversy when it announced it would start sharing WhatsApp user data with other Facebook-owned companies. In addition to losing subscribers to other, more privacy-conscious apps, multiple countries have started pushing back.

Germany was the first to outright ban the changes, with Hamburg’s data protection commissioner securing a three-month emergency order to stop the new changes from going into effect in Germany.

India had likewise expressed concerns over WhatsApp’s changes, but now the country is stepping up the pressure. According to TechCrunch, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has written a letter to WhatsApp, and given the company seven days to respond.

“In fulfilment of its sovereign responsibility to protect the rights and interests of Indian citizens, the government of India will consider various options available to it under laws in India,” the letter reads.

“It is not just problematic, but also irresponsible, for WhatsApp to leverage this position to impose unfair terms and conditions on Indian users, particularly those that discriminate against Indian users vis-à-vis users in Europe.”

It remains to be seen how WhatsApp and Facebook will respond.

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