The notice, sent on May 18, has given WhatsApp seven days to respond, and if the government does not receive any satisfactory response till then, it will initiate action in consonance with the laws.
“As you are doubtlessly aware, many Indian citizens depend on WhatsApp to communicate in everyday life. It is not just problematic, but also irresponsible, for WhatsApp to leverage this position to impose unfair terms and conditions on Indian users, particularly those that discriminate against Indian users vis-a-vis users in Europe,” MeitY has communicated in the notice.
The new policy has also been challenged in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court where the matter is sub judice. However, the courts have not stayed its implementation.
In a late evening statement, WhatsApp said, “We continue to engage with the government and we reaffirm what we said before that this update does not impact the privacy of personal messages for anyone. Our goal is to provide information about new options we are building that people will have, to message a business on WhatsApp, in the future. While the majority of users who have received the new terms of service have accepted them, we appreciate some people haven’t had the chance to do so yet”.
It said no accounts were deleted on May 15 because of this update and no one in India lost functionality of WhatsApp either. “We will follow up with reminders to people over the next several weeks. We’re grateful for the important role WhatsApp plays in people’s lives and we’ll take every opportunity to explain how we protect people’s personal messages and private information.”