"In January 2021, WhatsApp renewed its privacy policy, which would enable the messaging app to share some commercial user data with its parent company, 'Facebook.' The company claimed to share some information with Facebook like account registration information (phone number), transaction data of its payment services, mobile device information, service-related information, and IP address.

As people are concerned about privacy and migrating to other messaging apps, IT and Communications Minister Mr. Ravi ShankarPrasad raisedhis voice on the same issue. He said that any digital platform, including WhatsApp and Facebook, must maintain the sanctity of personal communication and operate without violating the rights of Indian citizens.

"Be it WhatsApp, be it Facebook, be it any digital platform, you are free to dobusiness in India. But do it in a manner without impinging upon the rights of Indians who operate it... the sanctity and privilege of personal communication must be maintained," Prasad said at a virtual industry event. He further added that "I know there will be pressure for sharing this (data), but this is plainly unacceptable, let me be very clear on it."

"I do acknowledge the implicit need for data movement in the corporate globe to keep digital commerce intact. But the ground rule of that movementmust be clearly laid. Next, there must be reciprocity in data sharing in the world. And again, we must never compromise on our digital sovereignty," theIT minister further added.

According to legal and privacy experts, WhatsApp's new privacy policy could be viewed as an abuse of its dominant market position. After the privacy issues raised by the users, WhatsApp extended the date of implementation of the new policy from 8 February to 14 May 2021

05-Feb, 2021