Blow for WhatsApp as CCI puts lens on privacy update

Blow for WhatsApp as CCI puts lens on privacy update

The issues for WhatsApp over its new privacy update are developing in India with honest play watchdog, Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordering an investigation into the issues after finding the proposed modifications prima facie “exploitative and exclusionary” for clients.

CCI, which took up the issue on a suo motu basis, stated the investigation might be executed via way of means of its Director-General because it sought a very last record in the next 60 days.

CCI’s harsh stance comes near at the heels of the objections raised via way of means of the IT ministry at the proposed privacy update that, amongst different things, seeks to share business communication of WhatsApp customers with parent Facebook.

CCI expressed displeasure at the development, mainly because customers have now no longer been given an ‘opt-out’ choice from the update as became given earlier. It stated that WhatsApp could be taking advantage of its dominant role in the immediate messaging business to provoke such a move wherein customers want to accept the update via way of means of May 15.

“Given the suggested network results it enjoys, and the absence of any credible competitor withinside the immediate messaging market in India, WhatsApp seems to be in a role to compromise quality in terms of safety of individualized statistics and might deem it useless to even keep the consumer-friendly options such as ‘opt-out’ choices, without the concern of erosion of its consumer base,” CCI stated.

“On a cautious and thoughtful consideration of the problem, the conduct of WhatsApp in sharing of customers’ personalized records with different Facebook companies, in a way this is neither absolutely transparent nor based on voluntary and precise consumer consent, seems prima facie unfair to customers. The motive of such sharing appears to be beyond customers’ reasonable and legitimate expectancies regarding quality, safety, and different applicable aspects of the service for which they register on WhatsApp.

In a statement, a spokesperson for WhatsApp stated, “We sit up for engaging with the CCI. WhatsApp stays dedicated to protecting people’s communications with end-to-end encryption and offering transparency about how those new optional business features work.”

However, CCI felt that sharing business conversation statistics with Facebook could also raise competition issues. “Such data concentration can also increase competition issues wherein it is perceived as an aggressive advantage. The impugned conduct of data-sharing via means of WhatsApp with Facebook reputedly amounts to the degradation of non-price parameters of competition viz. quality, which brings about goal detriment to consumers, without any acceptable justification.”

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