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WhatsApp puts ‘take it or leave it’ privacy policy on hold in India: Timeline of events surrounding the controversial update

WhatsApp privacy policy issue: After months of court cases and public outrage, WhatsApp has finally told the Delhi High Court that it is putting its controversial privacy policy on hold until the Personal Data Protection Bill (PDP) is enforced in India. The Facebook-owned platform had announced a new privacy policy in January this year, and shortly after, a global outrage and mass migration to alternative apps had been witnessed. The policy was also criticised in India, and the platform was dragged into court cases by people as well as industry bodies here. But what is the entire issue and what is happening with WhatsApp in India?

The new WhatsApp privacy policy and the controversy

In January this year, WhatsApp sent out global messages that it was updating its privacy policy. While there was nothing new in that, the issue was that under this policy, WhatsApp said that more of its data including chats would be shared with Facebook, which is already in trouble for misusing user data. Moreover, the users did not have the choice to opt-out of the update. The ‘take it or leave it’ policy of WhatsApp gave customers about a month to accept the policy or they would not be in a position to use the app any longer.



Also study | CCI probe: WhatsApp tells Delhi High Court new privacy policy is on hold



Soon right after, tech mogul Elon Musk advocated the not-for-profit messaging platform Signal, and what followed was a mass migration of customers from WhatsApp to competitors like Telegram and Signal.

During this time, WhatsApp attempted to situation various clarifications that the further information that would be shared with Facebook would only be with reference to the enterprise accounts that operate on the immediate messaging platform, and that no individual chats – person or group – would be shared because they continue to be placed beneath finish-to-finish encryption.

Still, the outrage forced WhatsApp to delay the implementation of the policy to mid-May.

WhatsApp situation in India

Looking at the public outrage, the IT Ministry in India decided to look at the new privacy policy, and also sought responses from WhatsApp to quite a few inquiries it posed.

Moreover, circumstances with regards to its privacy policy are pending in the Supreme Court as nicely as various benches of the Delhi High Court. Amid this, quite a few business bodies like CAIT, at their levels reached out to the Government of India, searching for a ban on the immediate messaging service due to its controversial policy or searching for a Europe-like exemption for Indian customers from the policy.

Meanwhile, the Competition Commission of India filed a case against WhatsApp for allegedly misusing its dominant position in the industry to curtail user rights. While all the other pleas had been focused on the policy itself, the CCI pea focused on the implication of the update – that WhatsApp was taking benefit of the truth that it had constructed a big userbase and was the preferred messaging app for individual as nicely as skilled communication and making use of it as a leverage to not give customers a option with regards to the new update. While the Delhi HC had in the initial days right after the announcement of the policy mentioned that WhatsApp was not mandatory to download, it is significant to note that WhatsApp is lengthy previous the point of getting a platform for informal communication as numerous organisational groups also function on the immediate messaging service. Due to the intertwined nature of WhatsApp with the individual and skilled world, WhatsApp clearly attempted to strongarm its customers into accepting the updated privacy policy.

However, more than the course of time, even though WhatsApp implemented the new policy on May 15, it did not lock the accounts of these customers who did not accept the updated terms. Now, the enterprise has mentioned in Delhi HC throughout a hearing of the CCI probe case, that it has “voluntarily” decided to place the policy on hold, which means that customers who have not however accepted the terms would not shed handle or any functionality of their accounts at least for the foreseeable future, although they will continue to obtain messages and updates with regards to the policy, which can be seen as an try to produce nuisance and irritate customers into accepting the updates terms.

By-item: Stronger options to WhatsApp

A crucial by-item from this complete ordeal surrounding WhatsApp is the rise in stronger options to WhatsApp. During a brief period of mass migration, Telegram and Signal upped their games and provided unprecedented features, which includes transfer of complete chats from WhatsApp to their platforms, so that customers would be in a position to transition conveniently. Though WhatsApp is nevertheless dominant due to migrating customers splitting involving Telegram and Signal, there are at least options that persons can look at some time in the future, all even though with out getting to shed their WhatsApp chat information.



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