The Government has written to WhatsApp Head Will Cathcart asking him to “respect the privacy and data security of Indian users” and revoke India’s new terms and privacy policies suggested by the User Messaging Service. In a letter, it expressed deep concern about the political days following HT’s declaration on 11 January that the government was closely reviewing the issue.
The Government sent a questionnaire to WhatsApp requesting more information on its data-sharing protocols and market activities. It requested the exact types of data that the application collects from Indian users, the specifics of the permissions and the user consent obtained, and their relevance concerning the working and relevant service offered.
The government has highlighted that the new strategy would contribute to gathering “a vast amount of highly invasive and granular metadata.”
The letter noted that “data integration between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies” prevents the consumer from the possibility of opting out of the policy.
The government has “raised strong objections against the differential treatment by WhatsApp to its users in India and the European Union”. It added this had triggered serious criticism and “shows a lack of respect for the rights and interests of Indian citizens, who form one of the largest user bases for WhatsApp”.
On January 21, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology called on Facebook officials to raise their privacy questions about WhatsApp.