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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

New Delhi: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has strongly objected the new WhatsApp privacy policy through which all kinds of personal data, payment transactions, contacts, location and other vital information of a person who is using WhatsApp will be acquired by it and can be used for any purpose by WhatsApp.

In a communication sent to Minister for Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, CAIT has demanded that the government should immediately restrict WhatsApp from implementing the new policy or put a ban on WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook.

Facebook has more than 200 million users in India and enabling it to access data about every user by a company can pose a serious threat to not only the economy but even to the security of the country.

"It reminds us of the days of East India Company who entered India to trade salt only and invade the country but at this time it is the data which is very crucial to wreck the backbone of economy, social structure, etc. The Facebook- WhatsApp combine has shown their true colours by first facilitating the Indians to use Facebook and WhatsApp without any charge but now seeking access to data, its ultimate object seems to control trade & economy of India beside other hidden agenda," CAIT said.

WhatsApp is to implement its changed Privacy Policy from next month in India which will force people using WhatsApp to accept the changed terms if they want to avail the usage of WhatsApp or else they will have to delete the WhatsApp from their mobile.

"The changed privacy policy of WhatsApp is an encroachment on privacy of an individual & runs against the basic fundamentals of Constitution of India and therefore the CAIT has demanded immediate intervention of the Government," said CAIT National President B. C. Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal in a joint statement issued on Sunday.

Bhartia and Khandelwal said, "In its new privacy policy, WhatsApp is forcing the user to accept the new terms and it's a common phenomenon that most of them without reading the terms would just go ahead and accept it without realising what WhatsApp is changing under the new terms. It does not give a choice to the user to stay on the platform without accepting the revised terms which is also an encroachment on independence of a person. How can a company operating in India force the users to accept its arbitrary and one sided terms."

The new rules will be implemented next month, and if a user doesn't accept the policy, then he has to delete the WhatsApp application from his mobile.

Bhartia and Khandelwal said what they could understand is that WhatsApp aims to obtain more data about each user which will enable it to know account information, including phone number, address book information, status information, also all the data on transactions and payments and this data may be linked with its new application, WhatsApp payments.

It will be disastrous when this data will be used by both WhatsApp and Facebook for various purposes, including the enablement of Facebook to use data with an e-commerce portal or compromising data with various companies to earn commercial benefits. Since Facebook being the parent Company of WhatsApp will be able to access all such data, CAIT said.

It will cause much disturbance when WhatsApp can collect data about usage, the kind of phone user is using and his location. Through new terms, WhatsApp will also access the bank account of the user. Not only this but WhatsApp will know what user is paying you and to whom and other related details like what is purchased and what will be the location of delivery. It can track every user, CAIT said.

By obtaining such huge data they will accurately know the purchasing and spending behaviour of users, what they eat, volume of requirements of various items, travels and destinations, usage of flights, railways, cab, road transport, etc.

(With IANS Inputs)

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