WhatsApp won’t limit functionality for users who do not accept new privacy policy

WhatsApp confirms to not limit any functionality for users not accepting the privacy policy.

Highlights
  • WhatsApp says it will not limit any functionality to users not accepting the new Privacy policy.
  • This comes after MeitY gave WhatsApp seven days to respond to its letter on May 18th.
  • However, WhatsApp will continue to push notifications to users to accept the new privacy policy.

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy has become quite controversial in India. Though the May 15th deadline has been pushed indefinitely, the popular messaging giant still sends a full-page notification asking users to accept the terms and conditions. The company also warned users of blocking certain features such as accepting incoming video calls, quick replies from the notification panel, and others in case they fail to agree to new terms. This led to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) intervening in the matter and asking WhatsApp to withdraw its controversial privacy policy or face legal trouble.

In the latest development, WhatsApp has told the Indian government that it will not restrict any functionality of the app for users who do not accept the privacy policy till the country’s proposed personal data protection law comes into effect. But it would continue to push notifications to users to allow them to share data of business transactions to 3rd party companies and Facebook as well. They will wait for the Personal Data Protection Bill to be passed. Till then, WhatsApp will send reminders to accept the new policy and not disable any feature,” a senior government official told Economic Times. The Bill is currently with the Joint Parliamentary Committee and is expected to shape up in the Parliament later this year.

WhatsApp privacy policy

The official also said that in its response to the government two days ago, WhatsApp had said that it will also comply with the PDP bill when it comes into effect. According to another senior official, the matter is still in consideration in the country, and that the government is pressuring the company to not force the policy on Indian users. This comes after MeitY has given WhatsApp seven days to respond to its letter on May 18th. The government of India in its letter said that changes to the privacy policy and the manner in which they are introduced undermine the importance of informational privacy, user choice, and data security.

“We will not limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works in the coming weeks.”

A WhatsApp spokesperson said, We have responded to the Government of India’s letter and assured them that the privacy of users remains our highest priority. As a reminder, the recent update does not change the privacy of people’s personal messages. Its purpose is to provide additional information about how people can interact with businesses if they choose to do so. We will not limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works in the coming weeks. Instead, we will continue to remind users from time to time about the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook. We hope this approach reinforces the choice that all users have whether or not they want to interact with a business. We will maintain this approach until at least the forthcoming PDP law comes into effect.