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WhatsApp extending ‘Privacy policy’ acceptance to June 19 in some countries: Report

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WhatsApp will allow some users to accept its new privacy policy and terms of service until June 19, according to a new report by WaBetaInfo. WhatsApp is expected to announce the extended date for some users living in specific countries such as  Germany and Argentina, who will get an extension till June 19. The report includes a screenshot of the privacy policy notice, which shows June 19 as the new date for accepting.

For the rest of the world, it looks like now that the May 15 deadline has passed, WhatsApp will keep issuing persistent reminders to accept the new policy, or else face reduced features on the app. If WhatsApp does extend the deadline in some countries, it will only add to confusion over the privacy policy, which has faced controversy since the day it was announced.

It is important to note that you cannot undo the changes after accepting to new terms. WhatsApp had recently told the Delhi High Court that it is not going to defer the May 15 deadline. This means users who have not accepted the new terms will lose features to the app over a span of time and not immediately.

Still, WhatsApp may face legal action in India by May 25 if it does not send a satisfactory reply to a new notice sent by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asking the company to withdraw its latest privacy policy update, ministry officials said as reported by Indian Express last week.

The IT ministry said in its notice to WhatsApp, “The changes to the privacy policy and the manner of introducing these changes including in FAQ (frequently asked questions) undermines the sacrosanct values of informational privacy, data security and user choice for Indian users and harms the rights and interests of Indian citizens.”

In a statement, WhatsApp said it continued to engage with the Indian government and its update did not impact the privacy of personal messages for anyone. “No accounts were deleted on May 15 because of this update and no one in India lost functionality of WhatsApp either. We will follow up with reminders to people over the next several weeks,” a spokesperson said.

WhatsApp has said that the changes in the terms are related to optional business features and it does not impact private chat, which remains end-to-end encrypted.

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