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How Is The New Policy Of Whats-App Violating The India Laws?

Whats-app policy update 2021
Towards the beginning of May 2021, WhatsApp reported that you won't lose your record on the off chance that you don't acknowledge the new update. Nonetheless, you will have just restricted admittance to your record.

Thus, assuming you intend to keep utilizing this messaging application, tolerating the policy is fitting. Be that as it may, before you do, here's beginning and end you want to be aware of the WhatsApp Privacy Policy.

There are three principal sorts of changes coming to WhatsApp in 2021. They base on how:
  1. WhatsApp processes your information.
  2. Businesses use Facebook services to store and oversee WhatsApp chats.
  3. WhatsApp will coordinate with other Facebook products.

What Personal data will Whats-app collect and store?
In accordance with its new policy, WhatsApp will gather hardware information like:

Your phone's battery life and signal strength, the mobile network, connection information (such as your phone number, mobile operator, or ISP), the version of the app you're using, browser information (such as language and a time zone), your IP address, device operations, information, and identifiers are all included (including identifiers unique to Facebook Company Products associated with the same device or account). The previous policy did not cover this aspect at all.

What information will Whats-app share with Facebook?
The new policy allows WhatsApp to share nearly all of the aforementioned data with Facebook. Your mobile number, IP addresses, information from phones, how you interact with different people and businesses, and other details are expressly prohibited under the terms.

The new update makes it easier to avoid friends!
WhatsApp is introducing the ability to quit a group secretly and a mechanism to hide your "last seen" status from particular friends.

WhatsApp began by default obscuring users' online status to strangers in December. Even if this was a positive move, your whole list of contacts can still see if you're online. However, WhatsApp's next update, which will allow you to select which contacts can view your status, is meant to remedy that. So, turn on the setting for that user if you don't want someone to notice that you're ignoring their message; that way, they won't (hopefully) ever see the difference.

Another useful feature being introduced is that you can leave the Whats-app groups now secretly. Currently, the app (quite obnoxiously) alerts every user in the group of your departure, which may cause some group members to message you privately to inquire as to your reasons for leaving. The new function should help remove the unpleasantness that comes with ending a discussion because it is the digital version of Irish Goodbye, the act of leaving a party without telling anyone.

WhatsApp claims that it will begin implementing these two capabilities this month and that it is also developing a method to prevent users from screenshotting "view once" messages. View once communications, which function somewhat like a photo or video sent through Snapchat, disappear after the recipient has seen them once, as opposed to disappearing messages, which disappear after a set period of time. Users could be discouraged from saving or disclosing sensitive information by adding a feature that blocks screenshots. Although this functionality is currently under testing, WhatsApp promises to make it available to users "soon."

This year, WhatsApp has introduced a number of other minor yet significant changes. The site has started enabling Android users to move their conversation history to iPhone in addition to introducing emoji reactions and a means to speed up audio communications.

Whats-app 's new Privacy policy violates IT rules and laws
The Union government has told the Delhi High court that it viewed the new privacy policy as a violation of Indian Information Technology (IT) rules and laws and sought directions to social media platform to make it clear that it was confirming to the same.

The central government's assertion was made in front of a bench consisting of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh during the course of hearing several petitions contesting WhatsApp's new privacy policy, which the platform claims went into effect on May 15 and has not since been postponed.

India is a major market for WhatsApp, accounting for more than 400 million or 40 crore users, and the move could have major implications for the instant messaging app.

WhatsApp informed the court that even though its new privacy policy went into effect on May 15, it would not immediately begin deleting the accounts of users who had not agreed to it and would instead work to persuade them to do so. The site stated that each user will be handled on a case-by-case basis and that there was no set or universal time limit beyond which it will begin deleting accounts.

The bench gave notice to Facebook, WhatsApp, and the Union government and requested their positions on one of a lawyer's arguments that the new policy infringes users constitutionally protected right to privacy. The Union government said during the hearing that the policy was against Indian IT laws and regulations.

It claimed to have written Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the matter and was awaiting a response, therefore the status quo for the application of the policy needed to be maintained.

WhatsApp refuted the claim by claiming that it was following Indian IT laws and regulations and that its policy was effective as of May 15 but that accounts wouldn't be immediately deleted.

The Union government stated that it was concerned that WhatsApp was treating Indian users differently from European users when it came to choosing not to participate in its new privacy policy and that it was looking into the matter when the case was first brought before a single judge.

Additionally, it had stated that the government was looking into the issue since Indian users were being "unilaterally" exposed to the instant messaging platform's change in privacy policy. On June 3, the court set the subject for further hearing.

WhatsApp criticism: Backlash from business leaders
Top business leaders joined the discussion as consumers began posting memes on WhatsApp to show their outrage at being coerced into adopting these agreements.

Tech tycoon Elon Musk sent out a straightforward, two-word tweet that directed a significant number of people to an alternate app. His straightforward response, "Use Signal," also had a huge effect. The user base of the non-profit instant messaging service Signal quickly increased significantly.

Yet Elon Musk wasn't the only one. Indian business moguls, Anand Mahindra, the head of the Mahindra Group, Sameer Nigam, the CEO of PhonePe, and Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the creator of Paytm, all urged their followers to switch to alternate platforms; Mahindra and Nigam all recommended Signal.

WhatsApp's clarification on Privacy policy
In a statement earlier this week, WhatsApp clarified that the amended privacy policy would have no bearing on users' private chats, which would continue to be protected by end-to-end encryption. Group chats and calls made using WhatsApp would also continue to be protected by the same level of security. The Facebook-owned platform guaranteed that neither it nor Facebook would have access to text or voice messages from private conversations, and that the revised privacy policy would solely have an effect on how companies use WhatsApp.

In order to further integrate Facebook services across products, businesses might share the chats of business accounts with individuals with Facebook. However, the chats of two non-business accounts would not be accessible to anybody else, it had been made clear. According to the statement, WhatsApp will not share any user's contact list with Facebook and would also prevent the two platforms from seeing locations provided during private talks.

References:
  1. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/info-tech/whatsapp-new-privacy-policy-violates-indian-it-laws-centre-tells-delhi-hc/article34581840.ece
  2. https://www.theverge.com/2022/8/9/23297350/whatsapp-privacy-update-hide-online-status-quietly-leave-group-chats
  3. https://www.igeeksblog.com/whatsapp-new-privacy-policy/
  4. https://www.indiatoday.in/technology/news/story/whatsapp-privacy-policy-violates-indian-it-law-centre-tells-court-1803596-2021-05-17
  5. https://www.firstpost.com/tech/news-analysis/whatsapps-new-privacy-policy-violates-the-it-law-and-rules-centre-to-delhi-high-court-9634311.html

Written By: Indrabha Biswas

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