It also urged that WhatsApp place on record the frequency with which it sends such notifications along with their conversion rate, that is, how many users have accepted the policy after seeing one of WhatsApp’s notifications.
“Instead, we will continue to remind users from time to time about the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook[…]We will maintain this approach until at least the forthcoming PDP [Personal Data Protection] law comes into effect,” the WhatsApp spokesperson added.
The Personal Data Protection Bill was being deliberated upon by a Joint Parliamentary Committee which is expected to submit its report on the bill in the next session of Parliament.
In its affidavit, a copy of which has been seen by Entrackr, WhatsApp named platforms like Koo, Aarogya Setu, Ola, Microsoft, Google, BigBasket, and Truecaller among others, and said that these platforms also collect similar types of personal information to offer their services.
The backlash then saw many users in India downloading other messenger apps like Signal and Telegram in anticipation of a hard deadline set for May by WhatsApp for users to accept its new policy. In fact, WhatsApp even saw a temporary decline in its downloads in India.
Separately, WhatsApp has also sued the Indian government over the country’s new social media rules which could potentially force the company to break its end-to-end encryption security, making personal messaging on the platform less safe for users across the world.
In response to WhatsApp’s lawsuit, information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that “none of the measures proposed by India will impact the normal functioning of WhatsApp in any manner whatsoever and for the common users, there will be no impact”.
“The government of India is committed to ensure the right of privacy to all its citizens but at the same time it is also the responsibility of the government to maintain law and order and ensure national security,” he added.