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WhatsApp Sues Indian Govt. Over New IT Rules, Says User Privacy Supreme

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Taking the privacy war to the court, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has sued the Indian government, saying that user privacy is in its DNA and the company will not share the information related to the “first originator of information” with any government including India.

Reliable sources told IANS on Wednesday that the messaging giant has filed the case against the Indian government in Delhi High Court, as the deadline to comply with the new IT (intermediary) rules 2021 meant for big social media platforms in India ended on Tuesday.

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WhatsApp said that new rules infringe on users’ privacy.

The company was yet to make its lawsuit official. Still, according to it, from day one, “we built WhatsApp to help you stay in touch with friends, share vital information during natural disasters, reconnect with separated families, or seek a better life.”

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WhatsApp has also gone ahead with implementing its controversial user privacy policy from May 15, clearly stating that “we will maintain this approach until at least the forthcoming PDP (personal data protection) law comes into effect.”

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had asked the social media platform to abide by the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, by May 25 or face strict action.

The MeitY announced its draft of new IT (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules for social media platforms on February 25.

As per the new rules, social media platforms will have to remove offending content within 36 hours after a government directive or a legal order.

The new rules mandate that the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, must establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving/resolving complaints from the users or victims.

On the user privacy policy, the Facebook-owned platform with over 400 million users in the country has defended its position, saying that it continues to engage with the government to resolve the issue.

WhatsApp said it has sent a reply to the notice by MeitY after the ministry directed the Facebook-owned platform to withdraw its controversial user privacy policy.

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