WhatsApp may face CCI heat over privacy policy changes

WhatsApp may face CCI heat over privacy policy changes

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by Amelia Scott — 6 months ago in Security 2 min. read
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WhatsApp’s new privacy policy aimed at allowing the messaging app to share extensive metadata and business chats with parent Facebook and its companies could be viewed as an abuse of its dominant position, according to legal and privacy experts who expect this could also raise antitrust concerns with the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

In August this past year, CCI had announced WhatsApp as a dominant participant in the applicable market of’OTT messaging programs through mobiles in India’, stating the Facebook-owned program has the benefit of reaping the advantages of ‘network effect’. It added that the absence of interoperability between programs is another consideration, as a consequence of that customers might be reluctant to incur switching costs.

WhatsApp has deferred the execution of its privacy policy from February to May subsequent continued outrage from customers.

The changes suggested by WhatsApp doesn’t provide users the choice to opt out if they don’t wish to share information with Facebook. People of us who don’t agree with its brand new update will eliminate access to the program.

“It isn’t a matter of downloads of rival programs, and it is not only about the caliber of support. The question is where’s the system? With 400 million consumers, the change can’t be swift,” said antitrust lawyer Abir Roy, who’s the creator of Sarvada Legal.
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‘A One-sided Contract’

“People are embracing the privacy policy since it’s extremely hard to change completely. And there is the matter. It is a one-sided contract. CCI ought to consider it. They could take suo moto cognisance,” explained Roy.

WhatsApp, nevertheless, doesn’t agree that its privacy policy is still an abuse of its dominant place in India. “No. We are thankful that individuals continue to utilize and expect WhatsApp to speak with family, friends and co-workers.

We all know we need to compete for customers’ confidence in regards to privacy. We believe rivalry on privacy is great since it is going to help to make programs much more personal and protected at the long run,” May Cathcart, international leader of WhatsApp, told ET in an email.

The privacy activists are afraid that the network impact one of WhatsApp’s consumers in India could nevertheless leave it a dominant player on the marketplace.

Network effects occur in markets in which an increase in use of a specific platform contributes to a direct gain in the value for some other users, making social networking goods a’winner takes all’ marketplace.
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Smriti Parsheera, a technology researcher at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy ( NIPFP), considers that a mixture of network impacts and Facebook’s integration plans mean that the consumer isn’t just tied to a solution but to your family of businesses, and this has the potential to produce the entry of competitions and depart from consumers much tougher.

“Until that previous person on your system does not go from WhatsApp, it might be hard to completely give up on the system. CCI has held WhatsApp for a dominant player. If a dominant participant changes conditions unilaterally it might create an unfair practice, that is a kind of abuse of dominant position,” she explained.

Amelia Scott

Amelia is a content manager of The Next Tech. She also includes the characteristics of her log in a fun way so readers will know what to expect from her work.

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