WhatsApp's privacy policy violates India's IT laws: Govt tells court

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As expected, the faceoff between the Indian government and WhatsApp is intensifying

The Indian government today told an Indian court that in its view the new WhatsApp privacy policy is a violation of the Indian Information Technology (IT) law and rules.

The government made this submission to the Delhi High Court that was hearing a  clutch of pleas challenging WhatsApp's new privacy policy, which kicked into effect from May 15.

The government said it has written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the issue and a reply is awaited and therefore, there was a need to maintain status quo with regard to implementation of the policy.

The case will be next heard on June 3.

Indian govt under pressure to act against WhatsApp

WhatsApp, for its part, said it was conforming to Indian IT law and won't be deleting accounts of those users who have not accepted it, and would try to encourage them to get on board.

WhatsApp said there was no specific time limit for it to begin deleting accounts. It said each user would be dealt with it on case-to-case basis.

The Indian government had earlier said that WhatsApp was treating Indian users differently from Europeans over opting out of its new privacy policy.

It had also said it was also a matter of concern that Indian users were being "unilaterally" subjected to the change in privacy policy by the instant messaging platform and that the government was looking into it.

In March this year, The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had filed an affidavit that that new privacy policy of WhatsApp violates the Information Technology Rules of 2011.

With there being more than 400 million WhatsApp users in India, there is pressure on the government to implement stricter data privacy rules and restrain the Facebook-owned app as was done while banning Chinese apps to protect the sovereignty of the country.

Earlier this year, the Delhi High Court had rejected WhatsApp and Facebook's pleas challenging the Competition Commission of India (CCI) order for a probe into the messaging app's controversial new privacy policy.

Facebook and WhatsApp had moved the High Court against the CCI order calling for a Director General (DG) probe to ascertain the full extent, scope and impact of data sharing through involuntary consent of users.

Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.