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SC asks RBI to file WhatsApp data localisation compliance report in 6 weeks


The Supreme Court has asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to file Facebook-owned messaging app Whatsapp data localisation and local grievance officer compliance reports within six weeks.

On Friday, the apex court was told by WhatsApp, represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, that the messaging app is complaint with norms.

The compliance report will be first sent to the NPCI and then to the RBI. The final report will be submitted to the SC.

As per the company, the local compliance officer has already been settled, said a Business Standard report quoting the messaging app.

Early this year, WhatsApp had informed the SC that it beta-testing the Payments Service in India with a small percentage of Indian users and has not yet launched the Payments Service to all Indian users. It added that it would not launch the services without data localisation compliance norms.

This was in response to a petition filed by the Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC), which claimed that the messaging app is bypassing law to launch its payment services.

In April last year, the central bank had issued local data storage norms for payment firms. The RBI asked these firms to provide consumer data including end-to-end transaction details or information collected and carried or processed as part of the message or payment instruction.

Last week, Will Cathcart, global head of the US-based company, visited India and met several government officials including IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Talking about data localisation compliance, he had said that the firm has done tremendous work to comply with requirements and make sure we do this in a way that builds on top of the system India has set up with UPI, and the bank partners that we are working with.

Cathcart also revealed that the number of Whatsapp users has gone over 400 million, making it the most popular messaging app among Indian internet users.

Data localisation has been one of the major roadblocks in the way of WhatsApp payment service launch in India for over a year.

Earlier, the government has also direct directed the NPCI, to inquire and make sure that payments platforms like PhonePe, Google Pay or WhatsApp are not indulging in the shady practice of sharing user information with third parties.

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