WhatsApp and Facebook have not started the year well, and the situation does not seem to improve substantially over the next few months. I am speaking, of course, of the changes in the policies of the popular instant messaging service, owned by Facebook for years, and that in a few weeks it intended to apply certain changes in relation to how the data is interrelated between both services (the social network and the instant messaging platform).
In the version of the social network, everything has been due to poor communication of these changes, and affirm that the privacy of WhatsApp users continues to be well protected, in addition to confirming that in jurisdictions such as the European Union, where these practices are not allowed, such changes will not be made. Be that as it may, and in order for its communication teams to clarify any doubts that have been raised in this regard, just a few months ago Facebook announced that it will delay the application of these WhatsApp policies for three months.
What is becoming clearer every day is that communication teams will have to make a colossal effort to reverse the current perception of these new policies WhatsApp, since today the general consideration of them is tremendously negative. So much so that, as we already told you a few days ago, it has been the case that even an Italian regulator has ruled on the matter, despite the fact that Italy is part of the European Union and, therefore, its citizens are not would be affected by this change.
The situation is different in other jurisdictions in which Facebook could modify the conditions that govern the transfer of data between WhatsApp and Facebook, although it seems that although there are no regulations that prevent it, the authorities are not willing to allow such movements occur if they can go against the privacy of the citizens they protect. Such is the case of India that, according to we can read in XDA-Dev, is pressuring Facebook to stop these new policies from taking effect.
The IT ministry has written a letter to Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp, stating that they had «serious concerns»On the impact of changes on the autonomy and freedom of Indian citizens. “This ‘all or nothing’ approach eliminates any meaningful choice for Indian users. This approach takes advantage of the social importance of WhatsApp to force users to negotiate, which can infringe their interests in relation to privacy and information security.”States the letter signed by Ravi Shankar, the country’s technology minister.
In the communication addressed to the directors of WhatsApp, the minister of technology echoes, precisely, the difference in treatment of users according to their nationality, and cites the difference between India and Europe, ‘This differential and discriminatory treatment of Indian and European users is drawing serious criticism and involves a lack of respect for the rights and interests of Indian citizens, who form a substantial part of the WhatsApp user base.“
It will be interesting to see the reaction of Facebook to this communication by the Indian authorities, even more so if we take into account that, Indeed, WhatsApp is quite a popular service in the country that, remember, it is the second most populated in the world, with little difference over China, which holds the first position. If the country’s authorities decide to ban the service, we would undoubtedly speak of a huge drop in their market share.
Furthermore, this action by India could set a precedent that many other countries could follow, making the situation even more complicated for Facebook and, therefore, removing the possibility that the new WhatsApp policies can be applied.
➡️ Be it WhatsApp, Facebook or any other digital platform they are free to do business in India but it should be done in a manner without impinging upon the rights of Indians who operate it. The sanctity of personal communications needs to be maintained: @rsprasad at # 15IDS pic.twitter.com/p33qynU6Ur
– RSPrasad Office (@OfficeOfRSP) January 19, 2021