Indian government asks WhatsApp to scrap its proposed privacy policy changes

WhatsApp privacy policy Facebook
WhatsApp privacy policy Facebook (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Indian government has asked WhatsApp to withdraw its proposed privacy policy changes.
  • The country's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has said that the proposed changes raise grave concerns.
  • India is WhatsApp's biggest market, with over 400 million users.

Popular messaging app WhatsApp introduced its new privacy policy earlier this month, requiring users to share their data with Facebook to continue using it. Unsurprisingly, the move was met with severe backlash, and a large number of WhatsApp users have already switched to rival apps such as Telegram and Signal. Expressing concerns over the proposed changes, the Indian government has now asked WhatsApp to reconsider its decision (via Gadgets360).

As per the Press Trust of India, India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has sent a "strongly worded" letter to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart, saying the proposed changes in the new privacy policy "raise grave concerns regarding the implications for the choice and autonomy of India citizens." The letter adds that "any unilateral changes to the WhatsApp Terms of Service and Privacy would not be fair and acceptable."

India is one of the most important markets for WhatsApp, thanks a large user base of over 400 million. As per a recent survey conducted by social media platform LocalCircles, however, only 18% of WhatsApp users in India are likely to continue using the app after its new privacy policy comes into effect. While the proposed changes were originally planned to go into effect on February 8, the date has now been pushed back to May 15.

The letter by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology comes a day after the Delhi High court said that accepting WhatsApp's new privacy policy was a "voluntary" thing in response to a petition filed by a lawyer, challenging the proposed changes.

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Babu Mohan
News Writer