In a strongly worded letter to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said India is home to the largest user base of WhatsApp globally and is one the biggest markets for its services.
The ministry asked WhatsApp to withdraw the proposed changes and reconsider its approach to information privacy, freedom of choice and data security.
Stating that Indians should be properly respected, it said, “any unilateral changes to the WhatsApp Terms of Service and Privacy would not be fair and acceptable.”
“Even Google Maps captures all your data and stores it,” the court said.
The court further said it could not understand what data would be leaked according to the petitioner and since the issue requires consideration, it will be listed on January 25 due to paucity of time on Monday.
The central government also agreed with the court that the issue needs to be analysed.
WhatsApp and Facebook, represented by senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Mukul Rohatgi, told the court that the plea was not maintainable and many of the issues raised in it were without any foundation. They further told the court that private chat messages between family and friends would remain encrypted and cannot be stored by WhatsApp and this position would not change under the new policy.
The change in policy would only affect the business chats on WhatsApp, they said.