Despite India’s objection, WhatsApp continues to defend controversial privacy update

2021-01-19 19:12:18

NEW DELHI: Facing the heat from the Indian government which asked it to withdraw a controversial privacy update over data-sharing plans with Facebook, instant messenger WhatsApp reiterated once again that personal messages remain completely encrypted and the proposal is aimed only at making business messaging effective.
“We wish to reinforce that this update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook. Our aim is to provide transparency and new options available to engage with businesses so they can serve their customers and grow. WhatsApp will always protect personal messages with end-to-end encryption so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see them,” the company said, adding that, “We are working to address misinformation and remain available to answer any questions.”
On Tuesday, the Centre asked the Facebook-owned instant messenger to “respect the informational privacy and data security of Indian users” and withdraw its controversial privacy update programme in the country.

Sources said the government raised “strong concerns” over the privacy update programme rolled out globally which would allow the company to share certain data of WhatsApp users with its parent Facebook and other platforms such as Instagram.
“Given the huge user base of WhatsApp and Facebook in India, the consolidation of this sensitive information also exposes a very large segment of Indian citizens to greater security risks and vulnerabilities creating a honeypot of information,” the government said, as it sent a detailed questionnaire to the company and its CEO Will Cathcart.

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