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WhatsApp responds to privacy criticism by alleging that other apps and tech companies also show disdain for user privacy

May 12, 2021, 14:32 IST
Business Insider India
WhatsApp has been criticised sharply for its new privacy policy changesUnsplash
  • Facebook-owned messaging giant WhatsApp has responded to criticism of its privacy policy in an affidavit filed in the Delhi High Court.
  • In its affidavit, WhatsApp reportedly pointed fingers at other apps and tech companies, saying they also collect similar or more data.
  • The affidavit was filed in response to a petition filed in the Delhi High Court against its privacy policy update.
Facebook-owned messaging giant WhatsApp has responded to criticism of its privacy policy by reportedly alleging that other apps and tech companies also show disdain for user privacy, an argument that could easily backfire.

According to a report by Inc42, WhatsApp has pointed out that platforms like food-delivery app Zomato, ride-hailing app Ola, Indian government’s Aarogya Setu app, and video conferencing app Zoom collect a similar or more amount of data.

WhatsApp’s affidavit also points fingers at other US tech giants -- Google and Amazon. In addition to this, it has also named Republic World, the digital venture of Republic TV.
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“A review of the privacy policies of many internet-based applications and websites confirms that such policies include provisions describing the information they may collect that are similar to – and in many instances much broader than – those in the 2021 (WhatsApp privacy policy) Update,” the report quoted the affidavit filed by WhatsApp.

Business Insider has reached out to WhatsApp for a comment. The story will be updated if and when we receive a response.

The timeline of WhatsApp’s privacy policy debacle


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WhatsApp’s decision to point fingers at other apps and companies comes a few days before its planned privacy policy update was to go live – initially, it had planned to enforce the policy on February 8, 2021.

However, after facing severe backlash, the company decided to postpone it to May 15. It was also reportedly asked by the Indian government to withdraw its privacy changes.

With only a few days left to enforce its policy update, WhatsApp decided to take a different direction to deflect criticism – it announced that users would start losing features over the next several weeks if they didn’t agree to the new privacy policy.
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In its affidavit, WhatsApp has argued that if the court blocks its privacy policy update, it would not only hamper the freedom of users to contract with a private party, but also impede services provided by other companies like Zomato, Ola and others mentioned in its response.

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