Open to answering any queries from govt on privacy policy update: WhatsApp

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Under fireplace over its latest privacy policy replace, WhatsApp on Thursday mentioned it’s open to answering any questions from the federal government on the difficulty and is conscious that the corporate could have to “compete” for customers’ belief with rivals akin to Signal.

In an interview to PTI, WhatsApp Global Head Will Cathcart mentioned the Facebook-owned firm stays dedicated to privacy and safety of customers throughout India and can proceed to clarify to customers that their messages are end-to-end encrypted.

Rival messaging platforms akin to Signal and Telegram noticed phenomenal rise in downloads quickly after WhatsApp sought customers’ consent to its up to date privacy policy that seeks to share some knowledge with Facebook.

“We know we have to compete for users’ trust when it comes to privacy and that’s very good for the world. People should have choices in how they communicate and feel confident that no one else can see their chats,” Cathcart mentioned.

Asked if WhatsApp had seen an exodus of customers to rival apps like Signal and Telegram, Cathcart answered in detrimental.

“No. We’re grateful that folks proceed to use and belief WhatsApp to talk… We assume competitors on privacy is nice as a result of it’s going to assist make apps much more personal and safe sooner or later, he added.

The feedback come within the backdrop of a raging debate over WhatsApp’s controversial replace in its phrases of service and privacy policy round the way it processes consumer knowledge and companions with Facebook to supply integrations throughout the social media large’s merchandise.

Asked if the federal government has sought clarification on the matter, Cathcart mentioned: “We remain available to answer any questions and to explain our continued commitment to the privacy and security of users across India.”

According to sources, the federal government is analyzing and evaluating the latest privacy policy replace introduced by WhatsApp and discussions are on throughout the IT Ministry over the implications of the latest transfer by the messaging platform.

In previous years, WhatsApp has drawn flak from the federal government over misuse of the platform for the unfold of misinformation. Since then, the Facebook-owned firm has taken a variety of steps to curb the unfold of hate messages.

Cathcart additionally famous that WhatsApp may even proceed to clarify to folks and its companions how the platform protects the privacy and safety of individuals’s private messages.

He asserted that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can learn customers’ messages or hear their calls with others on the messaging platform. He additionally clarified that the modifications is not going to impression WhatsApp Payments as that has a separate privacy policy governing it.

WhatsApp had knowledgeable customers concerning the modifications in its phrases of service and public policy, by an in-app notification final week. Users have until February 8 to agree to the brand new phrases so as to proceed utilizing the platform.

This led to a consumer backlash and triggered memes on the web over WhatsApp’s alleged sharing of consumer data with Facebook. Many customers have additionally began shifting to rival platforms, and apps like Telegram and Signal have seen thousands and thousands of downloads globally within the instant aftermath of the occasion.

Messaging service Telegram has crossed the 500-million subscriber mark globally with addition of 25 million new customers in the previous few days. While it didn’t specify India-specific consumer numbers, Telegram mentioned 38 per cent of the brand new customers are from Asia.

Similarly, Signal had mentioned the Indian market has “completely exceeded all expectations” and that the expansion prior to now few days has pushed the corporate to add capability to meet the burgeoning demand.

Cathcart, nevertheless, argued that some apps declare to have end-to-end encryption for group chats, and do no such factor.

He emphasised that WhatsApp’s policy replace doesn’t have an effect on the privacy of messages with associates or household in any approach.

“We’re not keeping logs of who everyone in India is texting or calling. We do not share your contacts with Facebook or the other apps Facebook offers…. You can download your account information right from WhatsApp to see for yourself the limited data we collect,” he added.

Instead, this replace contains modifications associated to messaging a enterprise on WhatsApp, which is optionally available, and offers additional transparency about how knowledge is collected and used, he mentioned.

“This has become all the more important over the last year with people needing to conduct commerce remotely,” Cathcart mentioned including that WhatsApp works with Facebook to assist thousands and thousands of micro companies round India.

Cathcart additional acknowledged that the corporate is constructing new methods within the close to time period for folks to store on WhatsApp for companies to handle and reply to messages. “When launched, this will be available to all but it will be people’s choice whether or not to choose to do so,” he mentioned.

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