Gives company seven days to respond
In India, personal data is protected under two provisions – Section 43A and Section 72A of the IT Act — the first for civil remedies and second for criminal prosecution, according to N S Nappinai, a Supreme Court lawyer and founder, Cyber Saathi. “The government has taken a definitive stand before court that WhatsApp’s policy change is contrary to Indian laws and followed it through with a letter. It can act against WhatsApp under those sections or treat it as an intermediary. If it’s the latter then WhatsApp runs the risk of jeopardising it’s intermediary exemptions,” she said.
Indian users discriminated
Taking up the issue of discriminatory treatment of Indian users vis-à-vis European, the Ministry wrote, “Many Indian citizens depend on WhatsApp. It is not just problematic, but also irresponsible to leverage this position to impose unfair terms and conditions, particularly those that discriminate against Indian users.”
“The option apparently given to users in other jurisdictions to opt out of the revised policy will also need to be explained. A convincing response to implement the revised policy in line with other jurisdictions could augur well to help resolve the matter,” Raj Ramachandran, Partner, J Sagar Associates, said.