oppn parties WhatsApp Is Wrong In Asking All Users To Agree To Share Private Data

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  • In a first, the Supreme Court recognizes marital rape, although for the limited purpose of allowing married women the right of abortion up to 24 weeks if they conceived as a result of forced sex by their husbands
  • Air India cuts discounts on base fare to students and senior citizens from 50% to 25%
  • Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh are being touted as frontrunners to take on Shashi Tharoor in the elections for the post of Congress president
  • Sonia Gandhi will decide who will be Rajasthan CM if she feels there is a need to change guard after the near-rebellion by MLAs in the state
  • Ashok Gehlot bowed out of the race for being Congress president after meeting Sonia Gandhi
  • India has moved to the 40th spot in the innovation index, up 6 spots from last year
  • DGGI has alleged that top insurance companies, banks and NBFCs has committed a fraud of Rs 800cr by claiming input tax credit without underlying supplies
  • The Centre will borrow Rs 10000cr less than planned earlier due to good revenue collections
  • At $23.9bn, India's current account deficit widened to 2.8% in Q1, the worst in four years
  • Stocks continue to flounder on Thursday: Sensex sheds 188 points to 56409 and Nifty 40 points to 16818
  • The 36th National Games were declared open on Thusrday by PM Modi in front of a record crowd in Motera near Ahmedabad
  • Jasprit Bumrah most likely to miss T20 World Cup due to recurrence of back injury
  • PFI's political wing, the SDPI is on EC radar and action will follow soon if discrepancies are detected
  • Ashok Gehlot to meet Sonia Gandhi today, says all issues will be sorted out soon
  • Referring to the PFI ban, most Muslim organizations ask the government to take similar action against right wings organizations like the RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP and the like
In a landmark order, Supreme Court rules that all women, married or unmarried, are entitled to safe and legal abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy as per the MTP Act
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WhatsApp Is Wrong In Asking All Users To Agree To Share Private Data

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2021-01-18 07:45:00

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

The confusion over the changes in the privacy settings of popular instant messaging app WhatsApp once again shows the urgency for a comprehensive data protection law in India. The government is not realizing the mischief that big multinational corporations in the internet space can do with consumer data. Although the government banned certain Chinese apps recently when data breach was discovered, it was a knee jerk reaction that is not going to solve the problem. Only a comprehensive data protection law on the lines of the General Data Protection Law (GDPR) of the European Union can prevent misuse of consumer data.

WhatsApp has changed its data privacy policy to allow sharing of data between the instant messaging app and its parent Facebook. Although the company has pointed out that this is applicable only for business users, it has been sending out messages to all users to accept this upgrade to its privacy policy, giving an indication that their data might also be shared. If it wanted to share the data of people or business entities using WhatsApp for commercial reasons, it could have changed the privacy policy only for them since one has to create a separate business account of the app. Suspicion about its intentions will obviously be raised if such acceptance of the changed privacy policy is across the board for all users.

To be fair to WhatsApp (as it provides free service to users), as a business entity that needs to earn money it will try to monetize its content in all possible ways. But privacy is a huge issue and Facebook knows this from the days it was drawn into the Cambridge Analytica scandal and many users left the platform fearing breach of privacy. For Facebook, the best way to get out of this mess would be to change the privacy policy and allow sharing of data only for users who register as business users in either WhatsApp or Facebook. That would be fair to both the users and the company. On the other hand, India must work to enact the Personal data Protection Bill, 2019 that has been kept on the backburner for long. That would go a long way in ensuring that companies do not play around with the personal data of users.