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Withdraw New Privacy Policy: Centre Pings WhatsApp

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Withdraw New Privacy Policy: Centre Pings WhatsApp

The Indian government has asked WhatsApp to withdraw the recent changes in its privacy policy, saying unilateral changes are unfair and unacceptable.

In a sharply worded letter to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said India is home to the largest user base of WhatsApp globally and is one the biggest markets for its services.

The proposed changes to the WhatsApp Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, without giving users an option to opt-out, "raise grave concerns regarding the implications for the choice and autonomy of Indian citizens," the letter read.

The ministry asked WhatsApp to withdraw the proposed changes and reconsider its approach to information privacy, freedom of choice, and data security.

WhatsApp had on 16 January delayed the rollout of the new privacy policy after huge backlash over sharing of user data and information with the parent company, Facebook Inc.

Stating that Indians should be properly respected, the ministry said, "any unilateral changes to the WhatsApp Terms of Service and Privacy would not be fair and acceptable."

"By not providing Indian users with the ability to opt-out of this data sharing with other Facebook companies, WhatsApp is treating users with an 'all-or-nothing' approach," the ministry said.

The letter questioned WhatsApp on the exact categories of data it collects from users. It has asked if WhatsApp profiles Indian users; details of the difference between its privacy policies in other countries and India; and details of its policies on data security, information security, cyber security, privacy and encryption.

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