EXCLUSIVE: WhatsApp’s Grievance Officer in India quits within six months
- Advocate Paresh B Lal was appointed as
- The company is also hiring a Compliance Officer to comply with the country’s Information Technology (IT) rules of 2021.
- WhatsApp never formally announced the appointment of a Chief Compliance Officer, however the government sources reportedly confirmed that one was appointed back in May 2021.
Sources aware of the development told Business Insider that Lal left WhatsApp and his previous stint at AZB & Partners to start his independent practice. Currently, Varun Lamba, a partner at AZB & Partners, has taken up the role, for interim, of WhatsApp’s Grievance Officer.
Besides this, the company is also hiring a Chief Compliance Officer to comply with the country’s Information Technology (IT) rules of 2021. Both these job openings are for WhatsApp office in Gurugram, India.
“We reserve the right to seek new candidates as needed because the officers are in critical roles and include the recruitment of uniquely qualified personnel to lead these responsibilities.”
India’s new IT rules mandate ‘significant’ intermediaries to appoint a Chief Compliance Officer, a nodal contact person and a grievance officer — all three of whom are required to be residents of India.
The company is seeking an individual with more than a decade of experience in handling law enforcement matters or similar investigative experience with security agencies to fill up its Grievance and Nodal officer’s position. The person should also have an experience of managing user complaints and grievance redressal programmes.
As per Lal’s LinkedIn profile, he had been with WhatsApp as the ‘Attorney-Grievance Officer and Nodal Officer’ between May to October 2021 and the reason for his exit is still unknown. Business Insider has reached out to Lal seeking more details about his exit.
Previously, Twitter India’s interim Resident Grievance Officer Dharmendra Chatur had quit his post in less than four weeks of his appointment in June this year.
Even though WhatsApp never formally announced the appointment of a Chief Compliance Officer earlier, the government officials have reportedly confirmed that one was appointed back in May 2021. Business Insider could not independently verify the claim.
For the Chief Compliance Officer position,
WhatsApp had also moved to Delhi High Court in May for its concerns over "traceability" that has the potential to violate the privacy of Indian users. One of the clauses of the IT rules requires social media companies to identify the "first originator of the information" when authorities ask for it, which WhatsApp claims would hamper its encryption policy.
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