Platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp that we use almost for free, are they really free? The answer is no. All these social media platforms earn their personal data from users.

If you live in India, then the instant messaging app WhatsApp is changing your privacy policy and terms for you. Not only this, if you want to continue using WhatsApp then it will be mandatory for you to accept these changes.

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WhatsApp is informing the privacy policy and changes in the terms through a notification to Android and iOS users. This notification clearly states that if you do not accept the new updates by February 8, 2021, your WhatsApp account will be deleted. That is, you cannot use WhatsApp after February 8 without approving the new rules and new terms of privacy.

It is obvious that Watts is taking ‘forced consent’ from you, because here you do not have the option of not giving consent.

Cyber ​​law experts believe that social media platforms or apps generally do not take such strict steps. Users are usually given the option to ‘Accept’ or Deny an update.

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In such a situation, this latest notification of WhatsApp has raised the concerns of experts and they say that as a user you should also be worried about it.

Emphasis on ‘Privacy’ ends in new policy?

If you see the last updated WhatsApp old privacy policy on 20 July 2020, it starts like this:

“Respecting your privacy is in our DNA.” Ever since we created WhatsApp, we aim to expand our services keeping in mind the principles of privacy … ‘

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These words, emphasizing ‘respect for privacy’, have disappeared in the new privacy policy updated on January 4, 2021. The new policy is like this:

“Our privacy policy helps us understand our data practice. Under our privacy policy we tell you what information we collect from you and how it affects you …”

What has changed in the privacy policy?

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $ 19 billion in 2014 and since September 2016, WhatsApp has been sharing its users’ data with Facebook. Now WhatsApp has clearly mentioned about sharing of data of its users with Facebook and related companies in the new privacy policy:

WhatsApp can provide its users’ Internet Protocol address (IP address) to Facebook, Instagram or any other third party. WhatsApp will now also collect information such as battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, language, time zone phone number, mobile and internet service provider company from your device. They were not mentioned in the old privacy policy.

If you just delete WhatsApp from your mobile and go to the ‘My Account’ section and do not choose the option of ‘In-App Delete’ then all your data will remain with WhatsApp. That is, simply deleting WhatsApp from the phone will not be enough.

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In the new privacy policy, WhatsApp has clearly stated that since its headquarters and data center are in the US, users’ personal information can be transferred there if needed. Not only in America but in countries where WhatsApp and Facebook have offices, data of people can be sent there.

According to the new policy, even if you do not use the ‘Location’ feature of WhatsApp, information such as your IP address, phone number, country and city will be with WhatsApp.

If you use a business account of WhatsApp, then your information can reach many other parties related to that business, including Facebook.

WhatsApp has started a payment service in India and in such a way, if you use its payment feature, WhatsApp will collect some more personal data from you. For example, information related to your payment account and transaction.

Will all these changes have any effect in your daily life? Should you be alert about the messages, videos, audio and documents you send to each other through WhatsApp? To know this, we talked to the experts of cyber and technology law.

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy is a violation of the IT Act. Especially its two provisions:

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1) Information Technology Intermediate Guidelines Rules, 2011

2) Information Technology Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data of Information Rules, 2011

WhatsApp is an American company and is headquartered in the US state of California. WhatsApp states that it is subject to the laws of California.

At the same time, according to Section-1 and Section-75 of the IT Act of India, if a service provider is located outside India but its services are available on computer or mobile phone in India, then it will also be subject to the Indian IT Act.

That is, WhatsApp comes under the purview of India’s IT Act, there is no doubt about it. Secondly, WhatsApp falls under the definition of ‘intermediary’ according to the Indian IT Act.

Section-2 of the IT Act defines intermediaries broadly, including service providers who access private data of others.

According to Section-79 of the IT Act, intermediaries will have to take utmost care in using the data of the users and will be responsible for keeping the data safe.

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In countries where there are strict laws related to privacy and privacy, WhatsApp has to follow them. If you look carefully, you will find that WhatsApp adopts different policies for the European region, Brazil and America.

It has separate privacy policies and conditions for local countries under the European Union (EU) and European territories, separate for Brazil and local laws for US users. At the same time, in India it does not seem obliged to follow any particular law.

There are many stringent and progressive provisions in the Personal Data Protection Bill which ensure the protection of personal information of the people.

Proposed on the lines of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union, the bill provides for severe punishment and compensation for violating the rules.

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