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WhatsApp open to answering govt questions on privacy policy

Rival platforms such as Signal and Telegram had seen a phenomenal rise in downloads soon after WhatsApp sought user consent to its updated privacy policy
WhatsApp head Will Cathcart told PTI the Facebook-owned company remains committed to privacy and security of users across India and will continue to explain to users that their messages are end-to-end encrypted. 

PTI   |   New Delhi   |   Published 15.01.21, 01:23 AM

Under fire over its recent privacy policy update, WhatsApp on Thursday said it is open to answering any questions from the government on the issue and is aware that the company will have to “compete” for users’ trust with rivals such as Signal. 

WhatsApp head Will Cathcart told PTI the Facebook-owned company remains committed to privacy and security of users across India and will continue to explain to users that their messages are end-to-end encrypted. 

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Rival platforms such as Signal and Telegram had seen a phenomenal rise in downloads soon after WhatsApp sought user consent to its updated privacy policy that seeks to share some data with Facebook. 

“We know we have to compete for users’ trust when it comes to privacy and that's very good for the world. People should have choices in how they communicate and feel confident that no one else can see their chats,” Cathcart said.

Asked if WhatsApp had seen an exodus of users to rival apps such as Signal and Telegram, Cathcart answered in the negative. 

“No. We’re grateful that people continue to use and trust WhatsApp to communicate... We think competition on privacy is good because it will help make apps even more private and secure in the future,” he added. 

The comments come in the backdrop of a raging debate over WhatsApp’s controversial update in its terms of service and privacy policy around how it processes user data and partners Facebook to offer integrations across the social media giant’s products.

Asked if the government has sought clarification on the matter, Cathcart said: “We remain available to answer any questions and to explain our continued commitment to the privacy of users across India.”

According to sources, the government is examining and evaluating the recent privacy policy update announced by WhatsApp and discussions are on within the IT ministry over the implications of the recent move.



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