In a letter written to WhatsApp head Will Cathcart, the IT ministry has pointed out that the changes raise “grave concerns” when it comes to the implication for choice and autonomy of Indian citizens. The government has also said that users in India are being subjected to differential treatment when compared to users in Europe.
“This ‘all-or-nothing’ approach takes away any meaningful choice from Indian users. This approach leverages the social significance of WhatsApp to force users into a bargain, which may infringe on their interests in relation to informational privacy and information security,” said the ministry in the letter.
India currently has the largest number of WhatsApp users around the globe. In an effort to debunk rumors and speculations surrounding the new policy changes, WhatsApp ran front-page ads on several newspapers in India. However, it seems that the attempt was not very successful. Indian IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has been tweeting against the new policy changes today saying, “Be it WhatsApp, be it Facebook, be it any digital platform. You are free to do business in India but do it in a manner without impinging upon the rights of Indians who operate there.”
➡️ 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