India’s expertise ministry has publicly known as on the Fb-owned messaging service WhatsApp to withdraw beforehand introduced alterations to its privateness coverage.

In an e mail to WhatsApp head Will Cathcart dated 18 January, the ministry mentioned the revised phrases of the app’s privateness settlement “increase grave issues concerning the implications for the selection and autonomy of Indian residents”.

“Due to this fact, you might be known as upon to withdraw the proposed modifications.”

WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy, which gained widespread media consideration earlier this month, clarified that its customers’ knowledge may very well be shared with dad or mum firm Fb. Shared knowledge might embrace cellphone numbers, IP addresses, gadget places and a number of other different items of figuring out info.

Nonetheless, UK and EU customers – who’re coated by GDPR – is not going to have their knowledge transferred to Fb, which is US-based.

This Europe-exclusive safety was additionally raised within the expertise ministry’s letter. “This differential and discriminatory remedy of Indian and European customers is attracting critical criticism and betrays a scarcity of respect for the rights and curiosity of Indian residents who type a considerable portion of WhatsApp’s consumer base,” the ministry wrote.

India is WhatsApp’s largest market, with 400 million customers, and its vocal criticism of the platform’s new coverage performed a job in its choice to delay the coverage launch to Might from February.

In 2020, Fb invested $5.7 billion within the digital unit of Indian conglomerate Reliance in a transfer largely geared toward drawing India’s conventional store homeowners to make use of digital funds via WhatsApp. The platform has additional plans to develop within the nation’s digital funds house, together with by promoting medical insurance by way of companions.

“We want to reinforce that this replace doesn’t develop our capability to share knowledge with Fb,” a WhatsApp spokesperson mentioned on Tuesday. “Our purpose is to supply transparency and new choices obtainable to interact with companies to allow them to serve their prospects and develop.”