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MeitY raises concern over WhatsApp data sharing

WhatsApp Payments appears to be in trouble as it has caught the attention of regulators over the issue of data sharing with parent entity Facebook and ICICI Bank.


In a joint discussion, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised this concern along with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, (MeitY) and National Payment Corporation (NPCI). In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data leak debacle and the alleged manipulation in the US electoral process, the government of India has escalated scanner on global companies dealing in financial technology.


MeitY, according to sources is opposing to sharing of payments information under any circumstances. The ministry also had raised the issue with the apex banking body (RBI). The report also adds that NPCI seems to be okay with the terms and conditions laid by WhatsApp for sharing data.


The instant messaging app declares that Facebook and ICICI can’t use data with a commercial motive.


To secure financial data of its citizen, the government of India has been emphasizing that fintech companies must locate their servers in India. RBI had laid a set of guidelines for the foreign companies to set up their servers locally. The regulators will also ask WhatsApp to reside its server in India. By having servers in the country, administration, as well as legal bodies can have easy control over foreign companies dealing with financial and other crucial data. Companies including Paytm, Google and PayPal have agreed to setup their servers in India.


Meanwhile, WhatsApp has mentioned that it’s a third-party service provider not a payment service provider (PSP). It also emphasized that it completely abides by NPCI guidelines on how data is captured and shared. Currently, WhatsApp is testing UPI feature with a select number of users. While it was slated to open WhatsApp UPI for everyone by now, the mass launch is likely to be delayed owing to concerns from above agencies.

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