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GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF ELECTRONICS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
LOK SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO: 235
ANSWERED ON:  03.02.2021
Privacy Policy of Whatsapp
P. C. Mohan
Sangamlal Kadedin Gupta
L.S. Tejasvi Surya
Prathap Simha
Will the Minister of



ELECTRONICS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY be pleased to state:-


(a) whether the Government is aware of the privacy policy changes that WhatsApp is asking or forcing third party users to comply with?
(b) if so, the measures taken by the government to safeguard the privacy and interests of Indian citizens and prevent it from being misused by a private tech firm;
(c) whether the unilateral contract or agreement from the offer or WhatsApp is valid under law? If not, the measures taken by the government to make the offer or WhatsApp comply or change the terms of agreement; and
(d) considering that platforms like WhatsApp operate beyond the ambit of the definition of Intermediary, whether the government is looking to amend the Information Technology Act, 2000 and / or IT (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011, to regulate them better, and
(e) if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor?



ANSWER
) and (b): Yes, Sir. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has asked WhatsApp to review the proposed privacy policy changes and also to explain the rationale of the same.

Section 43A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 provides for safeguards for sensitive personal information collected by a body corporate including WhatsApp.

The social media platforms including WhatsApp, for the user generated content made available on their platforms, are intermediaries as defined in the Information Technology Act, 2000. Accordingly, WhatsApp has to observe due diligence prescribed by the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011 notified under section 79 of IT Act, 2000.

Further, Government has already moved the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in Parliament which is presently under the consideration of the Joint Committee of Parliament. The Bill provides for safeguards of privacy and interests of the Indian citizens.

(c): The Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 notified under section 79 of IT Act, 2000 requires that intermediaries are required to publish privacy policy, rules and regulations and terms and conditions on their platform. Users of the platform have to agree with these privacy policy, rules and regulations and terms and conditions to use intermediaries services.

(d) and (e): MeitY has initiated work on amendment to the Information Technology Act, 2000 which, inter alia, includes strengthening the provisions for intermediaries for making them more responsive and accountable to Indian users.
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