WhatsApp faces first legal challenge in India over privacy

WhatsApp faces first legal challenge in India over privacy
About 400 million users in India exchange more messages on WhatsApp than anywhere in the world. (AFP)
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Updated 14 January 2021

WhatsApp faces first legal challenge in India over privacy

WhatsApp faces first legal challenge in India over privacy
  • WhatsApp has yet to see mass uninstalls of its app in India
  • Parent Facebook and WhatsApp have bet big on India and any user grumbling could dent their plans

NEW DELHI: WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy verges on user surveillance and threatens India’s security, a petition filed in an Indian court said on Thursday, presenting another legal challenge for the Facebook Inc. -owned messenger.
California-based WhatsApp said on Jan. 4 it reserved the right to share some data including location and phone number with Facebook and its units such as Instagram and Messenger.
That triggered outrage, including in its biggest market India where it has 400 million users.
The change has also met with a challenge in Turkey with the country’s Competition Board this week launching an investigation into the messaging service and its parent.
In India, many users have began installing rival apps like Signal and Telegram, pushing WhatsApp to begin a costly advertising campaign to calm customers.
“It virtually gives a 360-degree profile into 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, seen by Reuters, said Whatsapp was jeopardizing national security by sharing, transmitting and storing user data in another country with the information thus governed by foreign laws.
“WhatsApp has made a mockery out of our fundamental right to privacy,” it said.
WhatsApp has given users a Feb. 8 deadline to agree to the new terms.
“This type of arbitrary behavior and browbeating cannot be accepted in a democracy and is completely ‘ultra vires’ (beyond its powers) and against the fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution of India,” the petition added.
It will be heard by the Delhi High Court on Friday.
WhatsApp did not respond to a request for comment. It has previously said the policy update does not affect privacy of messages with friends and family, as group chats are encrypted and the changes only relate to interactions with businesses.


Omnicom’s 180 agency launches in MENA

Omnicom’s 180 agency launches in MENA
Updated 18 January 2021

Omnicom’s 180 agency launches in MENA

Omnicom’s 180 agency launches in MENA
  • 180 launched its first office in Amsterdam nearly 20 years ago with a second one in Los Angeles

RIYADH: Omnicom agency 180 is expanding into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with offices in Dubai and Doha.

180 launched its first office in Amsterdam nearly 20 years ago with a second one in Los Angeles. Along with its MENA offices in the UAE and Qatar, the agency is now also setting up shop in New York as part of its expansion strategy.

The agency’s global operations are led by Amsterdam-based CEO Sander Volten, alongside Al Moseley, global chairman and chief creative officer, based in Los Angeles. 

“Since the founding of 180, the agency has always been hyper focused on bringing different and fresh perspectives to our clients and consumers,” said Volten.

“With its interconnected hubs across different continents, 180 provides a fresh new perspective, emanating from an ecosystem of expertise, international talent, and modern creative solutions powered by data, audience intelligence, and social to better serve clients and give their brands relevance on a global scale.” 

Youssef Chahine, general manager at 180’s sister agency TBWA\RAAD, will lead the operations of the MENA hub, although it is unclear as to whether he will maintain both roles.

“We intend to be a premium partner to the region’s most ambitious brands, ensuring they have access to transformative, world-class talent to help them lead on both a global and regional scale,” said Chahine.

The MENA team will work day-to-day with clients on the ground and will have access to the brand building, design, brand strategy, digital, and partnership experience of the 180 ecosystem in Los Angeles, New York, and Amsterdam.

Although 180 MENA is launching now, the agency has been working with regional clients such as Qatar Airways and Al Jazeera for nearly 10 years through its Amsterdam office.

Moseley said: “After a decade of experience in the region, we are excited about having a team on the ground. We think it’s fair to say that if there is one region on Earth that knows what it means to see the world as it could be, it’s the MENA region.”