Whatsapp Privacy Policy Issue – UPSC GS3

Recent privacy policy update by WhatsApp which allowed sharing user data with Facebook.
  • Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook and has not been monetized yet.
  • Facebook’s revenue model uses data on its platform to allow advertisers to target relevant consumers.
  • Now Facebook Inc. wants to integrate the services from WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. The intent behind this step is to monetise their use by consumers.
  • WhatsApp is one of the most used Social Media App in India. It is capable to share user metadata and mobile information of Indian users with Facebook, its parent company.
  • Now, Indian government is looking for ways to protect the data privacy of Indian Users.
  • Such attempt of data sharing among apps is banned in EU.
What are the steps that government can take?
The Ministry of Electronics and IT has sent WhatsApp a series of queries:
  • Why Indian users would be sharing information with Facebook, unlike EU. Data protection laws in the EU have strict restrictions on storage and transfer of user data. Thus, data transfer from WhatsApp to Facebook is not possible in such regions.
  • Whereas, in 2019, government in India diluted the provisions of Data protection bill. For, example, it only set the requirement of keeping sensitive personal data in India.
  • Srikrishna Committee recommended the same for all personal data.
  • The Indian government should also bring in a strong data protection bill which aligns with the recommendations of the Srikrishna Committee.
  • The committee tried to address concerns about online data privacy in line with the 2018 Puttaswamy judgment.
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