WhatsApp privacy policy update: Govt faces calls to ban WhatsApp and Facebook

The Confederation of All Indian Traders (CAIT) has strongly protested against WhatsApp’s new privacy policy. WhatsApp’s new terms of service detail how the chat application will use the data of its users and share it with Facebook.

This update raises privacy concerns for WhatsApp users, as it will allow the messaging app to share data such as IP address, browser details, location, phone number, signal strength, phone battery level, etc with its parent company Facebook as well as its subsidiaries.

In a communication addressed to the Minister of Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, CAIT called on the government to immediately prevent WhatsApp from implementing the new policy or ban WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook.

In India, there are more than 200 million Facebook users. If a company can access the data of all the users, it can pose a serious threat not only to the economy, but also to the security of the country.

“It reminds us of the days of East India Company who entered India to trade salt only and invade the country but at this time it is the data which is very crucial to wreck the backbone of economy, social structure, etc. The Facebook- WhatsApp combine has shown their true colours by first facilitating the Indians to use Facebook and WhatsApp without any charge but now seeking access to data, its ultimate object seems to control trade & economy of India beside other hidden agenda,” CAIT said.

WhatsApp will implement its new privacy policy in India from February, requiring users who use WhatsApp to agree to the changed terms if they want to use WhatsApp or else they will have to remove WhatsApp from their phone.

“The changed privacy policy of WhatsApp is an encroachment on privacy of an individual & runs against the basic fundamentals of Constitution of India and therefore the CAIT has demanded immediate intervention of the Government,” said CAIT National President B. C. Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal in a joint statement issued on Sunday.

Bhartia and Khandelwal said, “In its new privacy policy, WhatsApp is forcing the user to accept the new terms and it’s a common phenomenon that most of them without reading the terms would just go ahead and accept it without realising what WhatsApp is changing under the new terms. It does not give a choice to the user to stay on the platform without accepting the revised terms which is also an encroachment on independence of a person. How can a company operating in India force the users to accept its arbitrary and one sided terms.