From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Article 21
Mains level : Right to Privacy
Q.What are the factors responsible for the spread of misinformation on social media? Suggest the measures to tackle it.
Core of the news
- The posts are pointers on the new policy.
- When one goes to the status tab on the app, one can see the WhatsApp icon and its four posts, along with the statuses of one’s contacts.
- While one reads ‘We are committed to your privacy’, another reads, ‘WhatsApp can’t read or listen to your personal conversations as they’re end-to-end encrypted’.
- Another post reads ‘WhatsApp can’t see your shared location’ and yet another reads ‘WhatsApp doesn’t share your contacts with Facebook’.
Issues pointed by Govt.
- said that the proposed changes raised “grave concerns” over the implications of the choice and the autonomy of Indian citizens.
- It pointed out that the Indian users, who have not been given the option to opt-out of data-sharing with Facebook companies, were being subjected to differential treatment.
- The issue is the impact it has on informational privacy, data security and user choice.
Data at stake
- The government asked WhatsApp to reconsider its approach to respect the informational privacy, freedom of choice and data security of Indian citizens.
- It said that India’s distinct identity and its people must be properly respected and any unilateral changes to WhatsApp Terms of Service and Privacy would not be fair and acceptable.
A discriminatory move
- India formed the largest segment of WhatsApp’s user base globally and any change in policies would have a disproportionate impact on its citizens.
- This differential and discriminatory treatment of Indian and European users is attracting serious criticism and betrays a lack of respect for the rights and interest of Indian citizens.
What lies ahead?
- India has a huge user base of WhatsApp and Facebook in India.
- The consolidation of sensitive information exposes a very large segment of Indian citizens to greater information security risks.
- By not providing Indian users with the ability to opt-out of this data sharing with other Facebook companies, WhatsApp is treating users with an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach.