Info-tech

Have grievance officer in India, WhatsApp told

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 26, 2019 Published on July 26, 2019

 

The government on Friday asked WhatsApp to set up an office in India, and insisted that the company’s grievance officer must be based out of India and not in the US headquarters, so that any local query can be answered from within the country.

Will Cathcart, the global head of the Facebook-owned company, had a meeting with Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and Information Technology and Law & Justice on Friday. During the meeting, various issues pertaining to the Indian market were discussed.

“I have flagged three concerns with them – they have conveyed to me they would set up an India-centric office. I have told them there must be India-specific grievance officer to entertain the grievances that may come. On the issue of traceability, I have conveyed to them that traceability should be their job,” Prasad said. He also told Cathcart that there should be a mechanism to trace the vulnerability of extremism or terrorism by using the WhatsApp platform.

“...in the event the WhatsApp platform is being abused by rogue terrorist or extremist elements...there must be a mechanism whereby those could be traced...I have already told them very clearly the mechanism must be developed by them,” Prasad said.

On launching of the WhatsApp payment services in the near future, Prasad said that he has told the company to adhere by all the regulatory requirements. “I have heard them and have instructed my department that in the event their platform is complying with these two regulatory requirements, they must be encouraged. I have also told them that India’s digital story is a global story...they are welcome to explore India specific products because of their wide reach and also involve themselves in the proposed $1 trillion digital economy,” Prasad added.

Cathcart said: “We are also concerned about the issues raised by the government and we are making changes to deals with it.”

In August last year also, Prasad had met the then CEO of WhatsApp, Chris Daniels, who had promised to set up a India-centric office and also a grievance officer, but till now there hasn’t been much progress on those front. The government then had also asked the company to come up with solutions to trace the origin of fake messages.

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Published on July 26, 2019
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