Fair trade regulator directs detailed probe
A thorough and detailed investigation is required to ascertain the full extent, scope and impact of data sharing through involuntary consent of users, the regulator said.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) directed its investigation arm, the Director General (DG), to complete the investigation and submit a report within 60 days.
The order against WhatsApp LLC and parent Facebook Inc came after the Commission took suo moto cognisance of the matter on considering media reports and the potential impact of the policy and terms for WhatsApp users and the market.
It also noted that users will have to mandatorily accept the new terms and policy in their entirety, including the terms with respect to sharing of their data across all the information categories with other Facebook companies.
As per WhatsApp’s submissions, the 2021 update does not expand its ability to share data with Facebook and the update intends to provide users with further transparency about how WhatsApp collects, uses and shares data.
However, CCI said the veracity of such claims would also be examined during the investigation by the DG.
The Commission further said that users, as owners of their personalised data, are entitled to be informed about the extent, scope and precise purpose of sharing of such information by WhatsApp with other Facebook companies.
Such opacity, vagueness, open-endedness and incomplete disclosures hide the actual data cost that a user incurs for availing WhatsApp services, it added. – PTI