WhatsApp Sues Indian Government Over New Media Rules

WhatsApp will keep reminding users about the new policy

"In the meantime, we will also continue to engage with the Government of India on practical solutions aimed at keeping people safe, including responding to valid legal requests for the information available to us", a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement.

"We have responded to the Government of India's letter and assured them that the privacy of users remains our highest priority". WhatsApp also said its update did not change the privacy of peoples' personal messages. "We will maintain this approach until at least the forthcoming PDP law comes into effect".

A WhatsApp spokesperson told IANS that requiring messaging apps to "trace" chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp. Its objective is to provide additional information about how people can interact with businesses if they choose to do so...

The data include user phone numbers, "transaction data, service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using our services, mobile device information and your IP address".

WhatsApp earlier this year said users would have to review its updated terms by February 8 but delayed the rollout of new business features to mid-May following a global user backlash over the company's data-sharing practices.


Facebook, Whatsapp's parent company, on Tuesday said that it was "working to implement operational processes" to comply with the new Rules.

The spokesperson stated that while user accounts in India won't be limited, the company will "continue to remind users about the update".

"We have consistently joined civil society and experts around the world in opposing requirements that would violate the privacy of our users".

Noting that many Indian users depend on WhatsApp for communicating on a daily basis, the ministry had said in the notice that it is irresponsible for WhatsApp to leverage its position in the Indian market to impose unfair terms and conditions. WhatsApp had then said the majority of its users had accepted the policy.

"We also do not believe traceability can be imposed in a way that cannot be spoofed or modified, leading to new ways for people to be framed for things they did not say or do". The basic objective of the government was that the changes to the privacy policy and the manner of introducing them, including in FAQ, undermines the "sacrosanct values of informational privacy, data security and user choice for Indian users and harms the rights and interests of Indian citizens".

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