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    WhatsApp faces India’s first legal privacy challenge

    NEW DELHI (Reuters) – WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy borders on user surveillance and threatens India’s security, a petition filed in an Indian court said Thursday, presenting another legal challenge to the Facebook Messenger owned by Inc.

    California-based WhatsApp said on Jan.4 that it reserves the right to share certain data including location and phone number Facebook and its units like Instagram and Messenger.

    This has sparked outrage, even in its largest market, India, where it has 400 million users.

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    The change also met a challenge in Turkey with the country’s competition committee that this week launched an investigation into the messaging service and its parent.

    In India, many users have started installing rival apps like Signal and Telegram, prompting WhatsApp to start an expensive advertising campaign to calm customers.

    “It virtually provides a 360-degree profile of a person’s online activity,” lawyer Chaitanya Rohilla said of Whatsapp’s new policy in the petition to the Delhi High Court.

    “BROWBEATING”

    A copy of the petition, viewed by Reuters, claims that Whatsapp is putting national security at risk by sharing, transmitting and storing user data in another country with information so governed by foreign laws.

    “WhatsApp made fun of our fundamental right to privacy,” he said.

    WhatsApp has granted users a deadline of February 8 to accept the new terms.

    “This kind of arbitrary and intimidating behavior cannot be accepted in a democracy and is completely ‘ultra vires’ (beyond its powers) and against the fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution,” added the petition.

    Friday will be heard by the Delhi High Court.

    WhatsApp did not respond to a request for comment. It was previously stated that the policy update does not affect the privacy of messages with friends and family, as group chats are encrypted and the changes only affect interactions with companies.

    Sankalp Phartiyal reporting; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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