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WhatsApp says it won't limit functionality for Indian users until Personal Data Protection law arrives

WhatsApp says Indian user accounts won't be limited — for now.  WhatsApp says Indian user accounts won't be limited — for now. 
WhatsApp says Indian user accounts won't be limited — for now. 

The messaging service says it will not place limits on the functionality of user accounts in India that did not accept the company’s new privacy policy, until the arrival of the Personal Data Protection law in the country.

Popular encrypted messaging platform WhatsApp on Monday announced that it would not place limits on the functionality of user accounts in India that did not accept the company’s new privacy policy. The company added that until India’s upcoming Personal Data Protection Bill comes into effect, it will keep pushing reminders to its users who have not yet accepted the policy.

The company’s surprise decision to defer the enforcement of the once-postponed deadline to accept its new privacy policy in India was announced by the company on Monday, according to Livemint. The decision comes after the government had asked the company to respond to a notice on the privacy policy by May 25, or face legal action. The privacy policy, which was originally expected to be enforced on February 8, was postponed after considerable pushback and criticism. 

Also read: New June 19 deadline for these countries to accept WhatsApp’s privacy policy

“We have responded to the Government of India’s letter and assured them that the privacy of users remains our highest priority. 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,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told HT Tech.

Last week, the company had told the Delhi High Court that it would not defer the deadline of 15 May, by when users were asked to accept its new privacy policy, or gradually lose functionality such as the ability to see their chat list or make or receive audio and video calls. The case against the company is still ongoing, while the government has not yet issued a statement on the company’s latest decision. It had previously directed the company on May 18 to respond to its notice regarding the privacy policy within a week or face legal action.

Read more: Government directs WhatsApp to withdraw new privacy policy, demands response in 7 days

“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 as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook. 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,” the spokesperson added.

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