According to WhatsApp, the proposed privacy update is specifically related to features that allow users to interact with businesses on WhatsApp.
The lack of options for Indian users of WhatsApp about choosing to opt out of the messaging app and its planned policy update compared to the choice available to the users of the app in Europe because of more stringent data protection laws, the ministry reportedly said according ot reports. This was referred to by the tech ministry as “discriminatory treatment” that “betrays a lack of respect for the rights and interest of Indian citizens.”
“Therefore, you are called upon to withdraw the proposed changes,” the ministry reportedly wrote, according to reports. WhatsApp has also been asked by the ministry to respond to 14 questions including the type of data that was collected by the messaging app, whether the company profiled its users according to their usage habits as well as cross border data flows, claimed various reports on the issue.
“We wish to reinforce that this update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook. Our aim is to provide transparency and new options available to engage with businesses so they can serve their customers and grow. WhatsApp will always protect personal messages with end-to-end encryption so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see them,” said a WhatsApp spokesperson to the media.
With more than 400 million users, India is one of the largest markets for WhatsApp. Last year the messaging app also started a service to send money through the app.