WhatsApp puts privacy policy on hold till Data Protection Bill comes into force

The app will not limit functionality for users not opting for the policy

WhatsApp
WhatsApp has drawn criticism over concerns that it is sharing data with its parent company, Facebook

WhatsApp on Friday told the Delhi High Court that it will not compel users in India to opt for its new privacy policy till the Data Protection Bill, 2019, comes into force. The app will not limit functionality for users not opting for the policy, it said.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve made the submission on behalf of WhatsApp before a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh.

The HC was hearing Facebook and WhatsApp’s pleas challenging a single-judge bench order dismissing their pleas against the Competition Commission of India decision to order a probe into the policy.

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Also read: You will have to accept WhatsApp’s privacy policy, sooner or later

Salve told the court that WhatsApp had responded to the IT ministry’s notice seeking a response. “WhatsApp will not limit functionality for some time and continue to show users the updated until Data Protection Bill comes into force,” he said.

Salve said that Whatsapp would nonetheless continue to display the update to its users.

WhatsApp has drawn criticism over concerns that it is sharing data with its parent company, Facebook. The company has maintained that messages on the platform are end-to-end encrypted and that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see the private messages on WhatsApp’s platform.

WhatsApp claims it’s partnering with Facebook to offer integrated products and services. But it gave an ultimatum to the users saying users need to accept these updates to continue using WhatsApp, indicating that if one does not accept the renewed terms by February 8, 2021, their account will stand suspended.

Bought by Facebook in 2014, the messaging app is popular globally with two billion active monthly users. While it did not monetize its services until now, the free flow of information between the two platforms (WhatsApp and Facebook) in future will enable the company to better understand user preferences and target with ads and services by enhancing its algorithms.

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