What’s with the new privacy update of WhatsApp – Here’s all you need to know

The Data Protection Bill, which aims to restrain the transfer of personal data outside the country, may come in conflict with WhatsApp’s new privacy policy. Currently the Bill has not become a law and is before a parliamentary committee, which is examining some of its clauses.


With the new privacy policy of whatsapp which comes into effect from February 8, 2021 which allows Whatsapp and Facebook to share the user information with business and third-party service providers that transact on these two platforms, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is taking a close look at the same. This is a concern because the privacy experts and antitrust bodies also have raised alarm at this new privacy policy of WhatsApp. Experts say that the government will need to tackle the issue emerging from this very closely and carefully, as US and European Union Agencies have been critical of the draft data protection bill’s clause so far. Because the personal data resides in servers located within the country.


According to the reports in the government the social media intermediary guidelines, which are in the works, may be drafted fresh to build in safeguards against such practices. However the ministry’s concerns emerge from the fact that so far the entities like facebook, ets maintained the attitude that they do not share user data with anybody. What the intermediaries claim themselves as, is that they do not own any content and are just platforms where third-party entities place contents. Now this particular status prevents them from any liabilities in case anything unlawful is noticed on their platforms.


Mostly in such instances, the government directs the negotiator concerned to remove the unlawful content within the specified period of time and if the negotiator concerned fails to do so in the given time period or it is found that it has conspired, abetted or aided in the generation of such content, only then can the government take action against it. Speaking of which, the sources are now saying that the initial feeling in the government is that the recent privacy policy of WhatApp to share commercial user data with Facebook in a way establishes that it is the owner of the data and hence it cannot be safely considered as an intermediary. This shows that it may lose the immunity it has with regard to any objectionable content found on its platform at any given point of time.


“Because of such nuances involved we need to study the new privacy policy and its implications in great detail and understand them before we make any changes in the intermediary guidelines which are currently in the making,” according to a  government official.




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