WhatsApp Again Postpones Privacy Policy Deadline, but Outrage Remains Strong in India

This post was originally published on DP News

By Aishwarya Jagani

WhatsApp said last week it turned out again delaying the deadline day for users to accept a brand new privacy policy that barred all of them from opting out of discussing data with parent corporation Facebook.

The organization said in a May seven statement that users may not lose functionality if they did not accept the new policy simply by Saturday. The change, very first announced Jan. 4, acquired required users outside the EUROPEAN to accept the new policy simply by Feb. 8.

After a global outcry — and accusations from the Indian native government that the policy improperly singled out more than 450 mil users — the deadline day was pushed to Might 15.

While launching no definitive deadline, WhatsApp said in a website weblog last week that “no a single will have their accounts erased or lose functionality associated with WhatsApp on May fifteen because of this update.

“For the last several weeks, ” the post continued, “we’ ve displayed a notice in WhatsApp providing more info about the update.

“After giving everyone time for you to review, we’ re ongoing to remind those who haven’t had the chance to do so to examine and accept, ” WhatsApp said. “After a period associated with several weeks, the reminder individuals receive will eventually turn out to be persistent. ”

“WhatsApp again has the exact same stand for deferring. ”

Ketaki Kadlaskar, Brand new Delhi cyberlaw expert.

WhatsApp authorities did not return queries searching for comment from Digital Personal privacy News.

Nevertheless, the latest change does not placate privacy advocates in Indian.

“In this particular latest move, WhatsApp once again has the same stand for deferring, that is to clear the false information and give users the time to have the update, ” Ketaki Kadlaskar, a cyberlaw and data-privacy expert in New Delhi, told Digital Privacy Information.

She observed the company’ s declaration about “persistent reminders” in order to users to accept the plan — saying that “by not really giving a choice” upon whether to accept the plan update, WhatsApp still broken user privacy.

The Indian Ministry associated with Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT) did not return a request comment.

Chats Still Encrypted

The new WhatsApp policy would have allowed a few users to opt-out associated with sharing information from company accounts and metadata through private accounts.

But private chats might remain end-to-end encrypted plus inaccessible to third celebrations.

According to the plan: “When you message having a business on WhatsApp, remember that the content you share might be visible to several people in this business.

“A business may give such third-party service provider access to its marketing communications to send, store, read, deal with or otherwise process them for your business. ”

Still, incensed users globally flocked to other services — thousands went to Signal plus Telegram within the next week — and Turkey and Singapore called for independent investigations.

Indian officials instantly bristled, arguing that customers were begin discriminated towards because they could not opt from data-sharing with Facebook, such as European users.

“No one may have their accounts deleted or even lose functionality of WhatsApp on May 15 due to this update. ”


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government demanded WhatsApp withdraw its plans. The federal government then joined a request filed to the Indian Higher Court in New Delhi against the policy by personal privacy advocate Chaitanya Rohilla.

“The proposed adjustments raise grave concerns about the implications for the choice plus autonomy of Indian residents, ” MEIT said inside a Jan. 18 statement.

“This differential plus discriminatory treatment of Indian plus European users is appealing to serious criticism and betrays a lack of respect for the legal rights and interest of Native indian citizens, who form a considerable portion of WhatsApp’s user bottom, ” the statement stated.

India any WhatsApp’s largest markets, exceeding 450 million users, based on news reports.

Further, India’s Parliament can be considering a data-protection expenses — and WhatsApp’s proceed was seen as premature plus discriminatory.

Widespread Attacks

Other privacy specialists called out WhatsApp to get other reasons.

“WhatsApp has expressly stated in the privacy policy that it will be revealing data with Facebook, ” Sharan Chawla, a data-privacy analyst at Kazient Personal privacy Experts in London, told Electronic Privacy News.

“WhatsApp has been doing this just before as well, ” he additional. “However, it is being clear about it for the first time. ”

He noted just how Facebook closed the $19 billion deal to buy WhatsApp in October 2014 — “and this is how it programs to profit: with our information? ”

Chawla cited how EU occupants were protected by the Common Data Protection Regulation, which usually took effect in 2018.

“The proposed modifications raise grave concerns concerning the implications for the choice plus autonomy of Indian people. ”

Indian native Ministry of Electronics plus Information Technology.

“Long story short, a person either get privacy in case your country has strong data-protection laws — or you pay money for your privacy, ” he or she said.

In spite of guarantees that chat information would remain encrypted, specialists also raised concerns more than sharing such metadata since IP addresses, location plus cellphone numbers with Fb.  

“Metadata — or, simply, ‘digital footprints’ — can expose a lot of information, ” said Kadlaskar.  

“It can be used for profiling, on the internet behavioral targeting and security.

“Even even though this policy mentions exactly what information it intends to gather, the words ‘such as’ within the ‘Information We Collect’ area hint that they would be gathering more information than stated, ” she said.

Tweets From Chief

May Cathcart, who leads WhatsApp, tried to quell the upheaval in a Jan. 9 Tweets post.

“With end-to-end encryption, we can not see your private chats or even calls and neither may Facebook, ” he stated. “We’re committed to this technologies and committed to defending this globally.

“This update describes company communication and does not change WhatsApp’s data-sharing practices with Fb. ”

May Cathcart, WhatsApp.

“It’s important for all of us to be clear this upgrade describes business communication and change WhatsApp’s data-sharing procedures with Facebook.

“It does not impact exactly how people communicate privately along with friends or family anywhere they are in the world, ” Cathcart said.

Multiple Legal Actions

But Cathcart’s tweets failed to assuage Native indian officials, who argued inside a Jan. 25 High Courtroom hearing on Rohilla’s request that “this differential therapy is certainly a cause of concern for that government.

“It is also a matter of concern for your government that Indian customers are being unilaterally subjected to the particular changes in the privacy policy. ”

But the court countered that WhatsApp was a personal service and that downloading it has been optional.  

“ It is not mandatory in order to download it, ” the particular court ruled, according to paperwork. “Every other app offers similar terms and conditions regarding writing of user information along with others. ”

After deferring the case till April, the Delhi Higher Court rejected WhatsApp’s request to quash an investigation with the Competition Commission of Indian into the company for being anti-competitive.

“You either obtain privacy if your country provides strong data-protection laws — or you pay for your personal privacy. ”

Sharan Chawla, Kazient Privacy Professionals.

Additionally , two Indian college students sued WhatsApp in the Indian Great Court, seeking a remain of the new policy.

In a Feb. fifteen hearing, Chief Justice Ersus. A. Bobde said: “People have grave concern regarding their privacy.

“You may be a two-trillion or even three-trillion company, but individuals value their privacy a lot more. ” 

The particular Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court are considering additional petitions challenging WhatsApp’s plan.

Aishwarya Jagani is a writer within India.


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