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Whatsapp Privacy Policy : WhatsApp statement regarding its new privacy policy

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whatsapp privacy policy

WhatsApp has released a new privacy policy in Feb. 2021. But owing to mass criticism, it had to delay the policy. Now WhatsApp has released a statement regarding its new privacy policy. In this article, we look at what new decision WhatsApp has taken regarding its privacy policy amidst ongoing concern about India’s new intermediary rules against which a complaint has also been filed. 

What has WhatsApp told about its privacy policy? 

 WhatsApp told

Then WhatsApp had delayed its privacy policy. It had said that it would give only limited features to those WhatsApp users who haven’t agreed to its new privacy policy. It had also clarified that its privacy policy would be shaped by the data protection bill released by parliament. But now, owing to ongoing concerns about privacy, WhatsApp has released a new statement about its privacy policy. 

It has reversed its earlier decision and told the media that now it will keep reminding its users about new updates, and it will be at users’ discretion to agree or not to the new features. Some of the new optional features introduced by WhatsApp include communication with Facebook business etc. This means that only the information on business accounts can be shared with Facebook and other third party users. This will help Facebook show the user only relevant ads, buy the product via WhatsApp account and get only relevant content. 

What was the earlier decision

earlier decision

At the beginning of the year, WhatsApp had released its new privacy policy. Users were given a deadline to accept it by Feb 8. Otherwise, they could not continue with WhatsApp. The primary concern about the new privacy policy was that WhatsApp would integrate with Instagram and Facebook. This raised privacy breach concerns and attracted considerable criticism. 

In the wake of the backlash that WhatsApp received due to its new policy, it was decided that the new policy would be delayed till 15th May. It was clarified that those who don’t want to accept this policy could continue using WhatsApp, but their features would be limited. 

This decision further aggravated the conflict between Whatsapp and the Indian govt. Because the Indian government wanted WhatsApp to adhere to IT rules, 2021 and withdraw the policy. A letter was also sent to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart by the Ministry of information and technology to remove the new privacy policy as it creates grave concern about Indian citizen’s autonomy. The letter also asked about WhatsApp’s Indian operations, data collection and business verticals. 

What were the provisions in WhatsApp’s privacy policy

provisions in WhatsApp's privacy policy

The WhatsApp privacy policy rolled out in January allowed the tech giant to sync user data with Facebook. It added some new features to WhatsApp’s existing policy and explained how WhatsApp processes user data. The information that WhatsApp could share with Facebook included user data like profile picture, ‘about’ section, address, transactions, status, etc., besides device-level data like ISP, IP address, etc. This made people believe that WhatsApp will be breaching their privacy. 

How did WhatsApp address the privacy breach allegations levelled against it

allegations

When WhatsApp was faced with privacy breach allegations, WhatsApp spokesperson told the media that they are committed to the complete privacy of an individual. Clarifying the new privacy policy, he said that these new rules would not hamper privacy but bring additional features and information on business interaction. It was clarified that the messages would remain end to end encrypted, and neither Facebook nor WhatsApp can read any message. Even the contact, location and other such information would not be shared with Facebook and users can enable disappearing message options for better privacy. 

What did CCI (Competition Commission of India) say about the WhatsApp privacy policy? 

Competition Commission of India

After WhatsApp’s new privacy policy raised concerns, the competition commission of India had to do a probe to investigate the scope of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy and how data will be shared under this. Competition Commission of India submitted that WhatsApp’s new policy disregards an individual’s autonomy by making it compulsory to follow new privacy provisions. This act of WhatsApp was considered exploitative conduct as the consent of users was not given priority. Therefore the competition commission of India was satisfied that the new rules don’t stand on the grounds of legitimacy, security, quality and other aspects. 

This ruling of the Competition Commission Of India compelled WhatsApp and Facebook to approach the Delhi High court to quash the probe. But CCI said they are investigating the monopolistic concerns due to this new policy rather than a constitutional matter. The petition was therefore dismissed on April 22. 

Why is India a crucial market for WhatsApp? 

crucial market for WhatsApp

India, the second-largest country globally, remains an essential market for WhatsApp because out of two billion monthly WhatsApp users, 400 million are from India. Therefore WhatsApp keeps updating its features and policies to suit Indian citizens. It had also launched a UPI payment service for Indian citizens. Also, out of 50 million WhatsApp business accounts, 15 million business accounts belong to Indians. 

A glance at the IT rules 2021

IT rules

Privacy and internet regulation are becoming hot potatoes in the Indian market. To regulate the same, the government has come up with rules 2021 that has given a three months deadline to major social media sites to adhere to new rules. Let’s look at the provisions of IT rules 2021 for a better understanding. 

1. Encryption of data and tracing of original post creator: 

The first debated provision about IT Rules, 2021 is regarding data encryption and tracing original post creator. Under the new rules, social intermediaries like Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. Will be required to trace the original creator of a post if a judicial order is passed under IT Act. This has raised a concern about the breakdown of end to end encryption policy followed by social intermediaries. WhatsApp has even registered a complaint against this traceability provision for breaching individual privacy. 

2. The mechanism for redressing user grievances: 

The 2nd key provision of IT Rules, 2021, is concerned with addressing user grievances. Under the new rules, the intermediaries have to appoint a Chief compliance officer and resident grievance officer and a nodal contact person. This contact person would stay available 24 into seven so that law enforcement agencies can coordinate with him for addressing any privacy concern on the platform. The role of the compliance officer will include responding to complaints in a given period. Government and other law enforcement agencies can also ask the social intermediary to remove some unlawful posts. A notice will also be provided to the creator of that post. 

Within 72 hours, the intermediary must furnish information to law enforcement agencies for any crime related matter. 

3. Unlawful content will be taken down from the platform

The intermediaries strictly need to take down any obscene, defamatory, pornographic, privacy-invasive, insulting, or unlawful content from its platform within 24 hours of reporting. 

4. Compliance reports

A new feature of these IT rules, 2021, requires social media intermediaries to provide monthly compliance reports. The report will give information about several complaints that it received, what action it took, and other relevant statistics. 

Internet privacy is a pernicious area that requires a robust approach. The new rules of 2021 have attracted criticism over privacy breach. This in itself is pretty contradictory as they are made to protect against the same. WhatsApp’s decision regarding privacy policy also seems a strategic decision. On one hand,  it accused the Indian government of breaching individual privacy and the very next day, it modified its privacy policy. This shows that internet privacy is an essential topic in today’s technological development. Let’s see what decision the court gives regarding these new rules and how the government responds to this criticism. It will remain interesting to see how the decision shapes Whatsapp’s future decisions.

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Current Affairs

1st Cases In Andhra, Chandigarh; India’s Omicron Count Now 38: 10 Points

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Omicron

Omicron cases are increasing and there are cases of Covid-19 variant in Delhi, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. 

There are fresh Omicron patients risen to 38 as 1 each in Chandigarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. 

Top news related to Omicron 

There was the first case in Nagpur, Maharashtra. A 40-year-old man came back from South Africa via Delhi. He was tested positive at the airport on December 6.There was the 18th case of omicron on December 11 and 12.In Kerala’s Ernakulam, a patient returned from the UK via Abu Dhabi and tested positive for Omicron. Till then, he was home quarantined and his family members and other passengers were home quarantined. A 20-year-old who came from Italy tested positive. A man who returned from Ireland to Andhra Pradesh was tested positive for Omicron. Maharashtra has the maximum number of cases.The ICMR unit in Assam has developed a new testing kit to detect Omicron in two hours.The WHO warned the nations of the Asia Pacific region to boost healthcare capacity and full vaccinate their people.

Conclusion 

The Omicron strain is considered to be highly transmissible and it has spread to almost 59 nations.

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India’s Harnaaz Sandhu crowned Miss Universe 2021

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India's Harnaaz Sandhu crowned Miss Universe 2021

Harnaaz Sandhu, a 21 year old from India, represented India at the 70th Miss Universe 2021 which was held at Eilat, Israel. 

In 2000, Lara Dutta won the title of Miss Universe.

She was presented the crown by Andrea Meza,  the former Miss Universe of 2020 from Mexico which was live-streamed all across the world.

The first runner up was from Paraguay and second runner up was from South Africa.

About the Miss Universe event 

In the top three rounds, the contestants were asked what advice would you give to young women watching on how to deal with the pressures they face today?

Harnaaz Sandhu answered this question amazingly. She said the biggest pressure the youth of today is facing,  is to believe in themselves.  To know that you are unique makes you beautiful.  Stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk about more important things that are happening worldwide.  Come out and speak for yourself,  because you’re the leader of your life.  You are the voice of your own. I believed in myself and that is why I am standing here today. 

Conclusion 

Her powerful answer made the beauty top 3 of calling for less talk and more action.

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Farmer union to meet the government to decide on further movement

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Farmer union to meet the government to decide on further movement

The proposal from the government which addresses the pending issues has been accepted by farmer unions and the farmer union will be meeting the government on Thursday (9th December 2021) at noon.

Farmer union to meet the government and decide further movement

The farmer union, SKM (Samyukta Kisan Morcha) accepted the government proposal which addresses the pending issues of farmers.

It was on Tuesday (7th December 2021) when the central government sent the draft to the farmer union which is a five-member committee. Sources have indicated that once the final draft of the proposal agreed by both the parties is received by the union, the farmers’ protest which started on 26 November 2020 will end.

The issues listed in the draft were Surety on Minimum Support Price, withdrawal of the draft Electricity Amendments Bill, 2020/2021, withdrawal of criminal cases against the farmers, and also compensation for the families of farmers who died during the protest.

The SKM said that they will be meeting the government at Singhu Border on Thursday at noon to come up with a formal decision and later end the protest.

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