WhatsApp will not limit user functionality until India's Data Privacy Law takes effect

WhatsApp has agreed to partially comply with a directive from India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to roll back its recent privacy policy change, which shared users’ metadata with companies such as Facebook.

According to PTI, the messaging app has informed the government that it will not restrict features for users who do not adhere to its updated privacy policy, but that it will continue to alert users about the change and preserve the status quo before the personal data protection law comes into effect.

Several media outlets reported on May 19 that MeitY had given WhatsApp seven days to respond to its notice requesting that WhatsApp roll back its most recent privacy policy change. If the company’s response isn’t sufficient, the ministry has threatened to take legal action against it, according to reports.

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The ministry also stated that WhatsApp is abusing its dominant position in the Indian market, as reported by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The CCI is also looking into the new policy, which WhatsApp claims is merely a “headline-grabbing endeavour.”

Many Indian users depend on WhatsApp to communicate, and it’s irresponsible for WhatsApp to use its market power in India to enforce unfair terms and conditions, according to MeitY.

The Central Government, on the other hand, has told the high court that the strategy is in breach of the country’s IT rules, and it has written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to emphasise this. The Central Government is currently awaiting a response from Zuckerberg, according to Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, who is representing the government.

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Users and privacy advocates were outraged by the ultimatum, claiming that the new policy was intrusive and would lead to user data being violated. In response to these statements, WhatsApp explained that the changes were necessary to assist businesses through WhatsApp Business, which the company introduced in 2018 to help businesses communicate with customers.

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