According to the regulator, a specific and comprehensive investigation is needed to determine the full scope, scope, and effect of data sharing through users’ involuntary consent.
The Competition Commission of India’s investigation arm, the director general (DG), has been given 60 days to complete the investigation and submit a report.
After considering media reports and the potential effect of the terms and policies on WhatsApp users and the market, the Commission took suo moto cognizance of the matter and issued the order against WhatsApp LLC and its parent company, Facebook Inc.
It also stated that users would be required to approve the new terms and policies in their entirety, along with the terms governing the sharing of their data with other Facebook companies across all information categories.
According to WhatsApp’s proposals, the 2021 update will not increase the company’s ability to share data with Facebook, but it will provide users with more transparency about how WhatsApp collects, uses, and shares data.
The validity of such claims, however, will be reviewed by the DG during the investigation, according to CCI.
The Commission also stated that users, as owners of their personal data, have the right to know the extent, scope, and exact intent of WhatsApp’s exchange of such data with other Facebook subsidiaries.
“The Commission is of the considered opinion that WhatsApp has prima facie contravened the provisions of Section 4 of the Act through its exploitative and exclusionary conduct, as detailed in this order, in the garb of policy update,” the regulator added, while directing the DG to conduct a detailed investigation into the matter.