WhatsApp also reinforced that the changes would in no way violate the privacy of any chats and calls of individuals, which are protected by end-to-end encryption. These chats and calls, which cover all private as well as group chats and calls of non-business accounts, cannot be accessed by either WhatsApp or Facebook, the platform said.
The Facebook-owned company also asserted that it is working to address any misinformation regarding this issue.
Earlier, on Tuesday, the Union Ministry told WhatsApp to roll back the changes it has proposed to bring into effect in May, asserting that the lack of choice given to users with regard to the acceptance of such terms was a cause of grave concern regarding user privacy. Further asserting that with 40 crore users, India is one of the largest markets for WhatsApp, the ministry told the platform to inform them about the services the platform provides in India, the data it collects, and the consents and permissions it seeks from the users. The ministry also told the platform to rethink its stance regarding its approach to the freedom of choice of users, data security as well as information privacy.
The development is important and troubling for WhatsApp. This is especially because the Government of India, over the past 6 months, has banned hundreds of Chinese apps over privacy concerns, including popular apps like TikTok and PUBG, sending out a strong message that apps must not violate the privacy of Indian users in order to continue functioning in the country. Moreover, the ministry also has the leverage of asking for a Europe-like exemption from these policy changes.