So, what exactly is going on with WhatsApp? To put it shortly, the messaging app will require all its users in India to agree with their terms and conditions that come into effect from February 8, 2021. This new change essentially means that WhatsApp users in India will have no choice but to share their data with Facebook Group of Companies.
The new policy update elucidates how the Facebook-owned messaging services process their user data and share the same with other Facebook companies. Information pertaining to account registration, phone numbers, IP address, transaction and payment data, interactions with others, device/handset, usage and log, location, et cetera, will be collected by WhatsApp.
Separate Policy For India And Europe
One of the reasons this policy update has not been received well by the Indians is the disparity between them and the Europeans. The whole of Europe is not subjected to these privacy/data collection terms from WhatsApp, on account of the GDPR.
GDPR, also known as the General Data Protection Regulation, is the set of laws enacted across the European Union, giving individuals the right and control over their personal data and protecting their privacy.
Under the ambit of GDPR, people in Europe and the European Economic Area have the consent on what kind of information is to be shared with the companies and businesses. In other words, people in Europe have more control and have a definite say in how their data is to be processed. The law ensures that any other unintended party does not see this data.
Speaking of businesses, they are required, by law, to protect the customer data and respect the privacy of their users. All information is to be collected legally and stored under strict conditions. It is up to the companies to protect the information from misuse or exploitation. Non-compliance will result in strict repercussions.
This kind of regulatory framework is not present in India, at least in the lawful sense. The Personal Data Protection Bill has been tabled in the parliament but it has not been enacted into law. There is also a dearth of mechanism and framework as seen in the GDPR.
If anything, this fresh privacy row with WhatsApp has led to calls for more stringent, strict regulation. For this reason, WhatsApp can get away with this new privacy update in India, leading others to go for Telegram and Signal.
The Way Forward?
Tech-savvy people have already started migrating to other WhatsApp alternatives that are big on privacy. Even at Bet India, the team is moving toward Telegram as the way to communicate with their audience.
This is what Shane Hand, Editor-in-chief & site manager at Bet India, had to say, “I’m sure many of you have received the same updated terms from WhatsApp.This seems like a standard procedure at this stage. But once you dissect this content, you’ll quickly realize that this is different. By accepting it, you are effectively handing over a lot of your personal data to Facebook’s property. I don’t know about you, but this made me feel very uneasy. We have since removed all WhatsApp integration from our site in favor of Telegram.”
Of course, this is just the first of the many moves that we can expect Indians to make in this data privacy climate. It is yet to be seen if the Personal Data Protection Bill can help address these issues in the future.
If you are interested in even more app-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.