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IT Ministry directs WhatsApp to withdraw new privacy policy

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has directed WhatsApp to withdraw its new privacy policy. The IT Ministry believes that changes in WhatsApp privacy policy undermine the values of privacy and data security and harm the rights of Indian citizens. The government has given WhatsApp seven days to respond to the notice and if no satisfactory reply is received, necessary steps will be taken as per law. He said that in a notice sent to WhatsApp on 18 May, the ministry has once again asked the messaging app to withdraw its privacy policy 2021.

Somehow the provisions of the existing Indian laws and rules have been violated in the new privacy policy of WhatsApp. To protect the rights and interests of Indian citizens, the government will consider various options available under Indian laws. The ministry has also strongly raised the issue of ‘discriminatory treatment’ with Indian users as compared to users in Europe by WhatsApp. The ministry has taken the same stand in the Delhi High Court, where the matter is sub judice. Significantly, WhatsApp set a deadline of May 15 for its users to implement changes to the privacy policy, but this deadline was later canceled. The company had also said that no user’s account would be closed if the new terms were not adhered to.