The government said that the company has shown a lack of respect for the privacy of the Indian users despite it being the largest market for the messaging service. The action by MeitY comes at a time when the proposed Data Protection Bill is in advanced stages and may be tabled in the parliament during the upcoming Budget session.
Minister of Electronics and Information technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad earlier said during the India digital summit organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India that while digital platforms are welcome to do their business in india, the privacy of users cannot be impinged. “Be it WhatsApp or any other digital platform, you are free to do business in India but do it in a manner without in bringing upon the rights of Indians who operate and sanctity of personal communication needs to be maintained,” he added.
Earlier, the messaging giant, which came under fire due to the new policy, clarified that it has no acess to the personal chats/ call logs/ user location, which remains end-to-end encrypted.
However, any communication shared with the business accounts will be shared with the parent Firm Facebook to drive its marketing business.
Whatsapp’s installs in India have fallen by 35% from January 6-10, leading to user migration to rival apps - Signal and Telegram - which recorded massive onboarding of users, focussed on security.