Published 16 January 2021
The deadline was for accepting the tweak to its terms of service, involving sharing data with Facebook servers. Instead, Facebook in a blog said that it would go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15.
“We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15, ” it said.
This sparked a global outrage and resulted in people moving to alternative apps such as Telegram and Signal. Telegram in a notification said that since the last few days around 25 million new users joined the platform.
“WhatsApp was built on a simple idea: what you share with your friends and family stays between you. This means we will always protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption, so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see these private messages. It’s why we don’t keep logs of who everyone’s messaging or calling. We also can’t see your shared location and we don’t share your contacts with Facebook, it said. With these updates, none of that is changing. Instead, the update includes new options people will have to message a business on WhatsApp, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data. While not everyone shops with a business on WhatsApp today, we think that more people will choose to do so in the future and it’s important people are aware of these services. This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook,” it added.
“There is a need for stronger, comprehensive legislation and propels the privacy-conscious users to address the legal vacuum left unattended otherwise. In view of the fast-evolving online commercial industry, it is imperative to establish an Authority that helps identify and penalize offenders so as to materialize Privacy in letter and spirit and save it from being left as a half-baked promise,” stated Sonam Chandwani, the Managing Partner at KS Legal & Associates.
Although WhatsApp attempted to assure sophisticated and secure data sharing practices with Facebook with no impact on private communication across the world, the privacy update allows Whatsapp businesses to choose to receive secure hosting services from Facebook to help manage their communications with their customers on WhatsApp.
“However, the recent notification has led to a severe loss of confidence in Whatsapp by its loyal users. Further, the privacy laws in India are lacking in the fight against rising data breaches and cyber attacks in an increasingly digitized business space amidst the pandemic,” said Chandwani.