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WhatsApp won’t limit app features; will serve reminders until PDP rolls out

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Whatsapp has responded to MeitY’s request to withdraw the new privacy policy and won’t limit app functionality in the coming weeks. However, the Facebook-owned app will continue to show reminders to users until the controversial Personal Data Protection (PDP) bill comes into effect.

“We have responded to the Government of India’s letter and assured them that the privacy of users remains our highest priority. We will not limit the functionality of how Whatsapp works in the coming weeks. Instead, we will continue to remind users from time to time about the update, ” a Whatsapp spokesperson told Candid.Technology.

Whatsapp will also send reminders specifically when users interact with a business that’s receiving support from Facebook.

Last week, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) asked Whatsapp to withdraw the new privacy policy for Indian users for the second time. At the time, Whatsapp said that most of its 450 million users in India had accepted the new privacy policy.

The messaging app now says that they’ll continue serving reminders “until at least” the Personal Data Protection Bill is passed and won’t limit the functionality of users — as earlier proposed — over the coming weeks.

There is no indication of when the PDP will be tabled in the Parliament, but it won’t be in its current form.

“We hope this approach reinforces the choice that all users have whether or not they want to interact with a business. We will maintain this approach until at least the forthcoming PDP law comes into effect.”

From May 15, Whatsapp started sending reminders to users who haven’t agreed to the new privacy policy and terms of service. The new update will enable Whatsapp to share data with other Facebook-owned apps when a business owner hosts Whatsapp Business API on Facebook’s servers. According to Facebook’s policy, the chats between users and these Businesses on Whatsapp won’t be end-to-end encrypted and can be accessed by the third-party hosting service, including Facebook companies.

“As a reminder, the recent update does not change the privacy of people’s personal messages. Its purpose is to provide additional information about how people can interact with businesses if they choose to do so.”

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Writes news mostly and edits almost everything at Candid.Technology. He loves taking trips on his bikes or chugging beers as Manchester United battle rivals. Contact Prayank via email: