Respect Privacy: India Should Force Tech Companies To Fall In Line

It has been a tricky week for WhatsApp – the undisputed messaging platform finds itself in a hot pickle. They have been carrying full-page advertisements in newspapers in a bid to explain that their privacy policy is being blown out of proportion.

Now, is it really being blown out of proportion. There have been reports that suggest that a large number of people may be leaving WhatsApp for rivals such as Signal and Telegram. The company has been forced to say that its new policy – is a situation where users will be forced to delete their accounts if they choose not to abide by it. It goes on to say that this is valid only for communication with business accounts on WhatsApp. As per the company, this might not be a problem since communicating with a business account is optional.

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Now, we have to understand that there are two major issues here – the bigger one is a bad faith approach as the policy was made mandatory as people were forced into accepting it because their friends, families and colleagues are all on WhatsApp); and a violation of the principle of purpose limitation. 

So, what is essentially means that, the data should only be collected and processed for only the purposes that they are always meant for – for WhatsApp, this is for only communication. As per law, WhatsApp is not mandated to follow these rules – unless, of course it has been mentioned in Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation. This is the one reason why European users will not be subject to the take-it-or-leave-it new policy that the rest of the users will be. 

And, hence this one reason why India and world need to go back and review on its own data protection law. With the law backing the users, Indians can walk away and force the tech companies to adhere to laws and respect their privacy!