New Delhi: After the Indian government once again directed the Facebook-owned messaging app to withdraw its controversial user privacy policy, WhatsApp on Monday responded to the concerns raised and assured that the privacy of users “remains our highest priority”.

“As a reminder, the recent update does not change the privacy of people’s personal messages. Its purpose is to provide additional information about how people can interact with businesses if they choose to do so,” IANS quoted a WhatsApp spokesperson as saying in a statement.

The reply came as the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology sent a new notice to WhatsApp last week for withdrawing its updated privacy policy and gave the instant messaging platform time till May 25 to respond to the same failing which “all necessary steps in consonance with the law” could be taken.

In the communication sent to WhatsApp, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology called it an undermining of the values of informational privacy and data security.

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This was the second communication sent to the messaging platform to withdraw its controversial privacy policy as the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had earlier in January this year written to WhatsApp Global Chief Executive Officer Will Cathcart and asked him to withdraw the latest privacy and policy update on the messaging platform.

The letter had pointed out that privacy update enabled WhatsApp and other Facebook companies “to make invasive and precise inferences about users”.

“This approach has the potential to infringe on core values of data privacy, user choice, and autonomy of Indian users. Given the huge user base of WhatsApp and Facebook in India, the consolidation of this sensitive information also exposes a very large segment of Indian citizens to greater information security risk and vulnerabilities creating a potential honeypot of information,” the ministry said in the letter.

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