Published: Thu, January 14, 2021
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Information Regulator to check compliance of WhatsApp Ts&Cs with SA's privacy laws

Information Regulator to check compliance of WhatsApp Ts&Cs with SA's privacy laws

The logos of PTA and WhatsApp. On Wednesday, WhatsApp brought out full page ads in leading dailies explaining what has changed with the latest update as part of the outreach. So any user who has not agreed to the new terms will no longer be able to use the messaging service from that date.

Acton said the Indian market has "completely exceeded all expectations" and the growth in the past few days has driven the company to add capacity to meet the burgeoning demand.

The petition alleges the new terms that WhatsApp requires its roughly 450 million users in the country to accept is a violation of their fundamental rights to privacy and poses a threat to national security.

The authority assured the citizens that the new terms of service "do not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family".

The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill of 2019 is in the Parliament but is yet to be passed.

The petition has been filed by Advocate Chaitanya Rohilla seeking a direction to the Central Government to lay down guidelines to ensure that WhatsApp does not share any data of its users with any third party or Facebook and its companies for any objective and pass an injunction on the updated privacy policy of WhatsApp.

"We use group membership to deliver messages and to protect our service from spam and abuse".

The Facebook-owned service, which serves over 2 billion users worldwide, said private conversations between people remain just as private as before.

"The regulator will be analysing whether the terms of service and the privacy policies indeed differ and whether the privacy policy applicable to users outside Europe, which include South African users, are in compliance with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI)".

"For the limited categories of data WhatsApp does collect, it takes measures to restrict access to that information".

In a blogpost earlier this week, WhatsApp emphasised that it does not share users' contact lists or data of groups with Facebook for advertisement purposes.

According to the Times of India report, official sources had indicated the government has been "collecting details" and monitoring the developments around the changes to the policy which would give Facebook additional data (from user's interactions with businesses on WhatsApp) in light of potential privacy violations.

The government is also working around why the European Union has got a lenient privacy policy from WhatsApp, but India has "wide-ranging terms" that might harm user privacy.

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