Updated: May 9, 2021 4:53:10 pm
“No accounts will be deleted on May 15 because of this update and no one in India will lose functionality of WhatsApp either. We will follow up with reminders to people over the next several weeks,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement.
“We’ve spent the last few months working to clear up confusion and misinformation. As a reminder this update does not impact the privacy of personal messages for anyone,” the spokesperson said.
The ultimatum did not sit well with users and privacy activists, who raised alarm about how the new policy was invasive and would lead to the data of users being breached. To these claims, WhatsApp clarified that the changes were necessary to help businesses through WhatsApp Business, which was launched by the company in 2018 to facilitate communication between businesses and customers.
A set of 14 questions concerning the new policy and how the data being collected in India was stored and used had also been sent to WhatsApp.
Citing several Supreme Court judgments, the Ministry had said that since the highest court of the land had placed a responsibility upon it to come out with a “regime on data protection and privacy”, which would “limit the ability of entities” such as WhatsApp to issue “privacy policies which do not align with appropriate standards of security and data protection”, WhatsApp must be stopped from rolling out the services.
WhatsApp’s announcement on January 4, in which it informed users of its new policy, started with ‘Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA’. This phrase has earlier been used verbatim by the messaging platform’s co-founder Jan Koum, who had left the company over differences in the way user data was being used.
“Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible: You don’t have to give us your name and we don’t ask for your email address. We don’t know your birthday. We don’t know your home address. We don’t know where you work. We don’t know your likes, what you search for on the Internet, or collect your GPS location. None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that,” Koum had written after Facebook’s $16 billion buyout of WhatsApp.
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