India’s Competition Commission has launched an antitrust investigation into Whatsapp’s new privacy policy update, claiming that the tech giant violated antitrust laws.

The Commission accused the Facebook-owned company of breaching competition laws “through its exploitative and exclusionary conduct … in the garb of policy update,” adding that its new method of data sharing is “neither fully transparent nor based on voluntary and specific user consent.”

Earlier this year, WhatsApp stirred massive controversy after announcing a change in its privacy policy for users, which it intended to roll out by February 2021.

The policy states: “WhatsApp must receive or collect some information in order to operate, offer, improve, understand, individualise, support and market our services. This happens, for example, when you install and use our services or access them.” This policy would not be rolled out for EU countries, as the EU has strong data protection laws, particularly the General Data Protection Regulation (EU). 

In a clarification issued on January 12, WhatsApp stated that its “privacy policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family.”

A significant amount of Whatsapp users have moved to alternate applications such as Signal, amid the controversial update to its terms of service.


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