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Committed to protect Indian users, says WhatsApp on snooping row

"We agree with the government of India. It's critical that together we do all we can to protect users from hackers attempting to weaken security. WhatsApp remains committed to the protection of all user messages through the product we provide," the company spokesperson said in a statement. 

Committed to protect Indian users, says WhatsApp on snooping row
Image Courtesy: Reuters

New Delhi: Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Friday said that it remains committed to the protection of all users and it agrees with the Indian government to explain the kind of breach to safeguard the privacy of millions of Indian citizens.

"We agree with the government of India. It's critical that together we do all we can to protect users from hackers attempting to weaken security. WhatsApp remains committed to the protection of all user messages through the product we provide," the company spokesperson said in a statement. 

The statement by WhatsApp comes a day after the Indian government demanded an explanation on the snooping row. IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said on Thursday that the government "is concerned at the breach of privacy of citizens of India on the messaging platform WhatsApp".

WhatsApp also said that it had informed India about a privacy breach in May that affected some users in the country, but quickly to resolve it.

"Our highest priority is the privacy and security of WhatsApp users. In May we quickly resolved a security issue and notified relevant Indian and international government authorities. Since then we've worked to identify targeted users to ask the courts to hold the international spyware firm known as the NSO Group accountable," the statement added. 

WhatsApp snooping of human rights activists and journalists in India via an Israeli spyware called Pegasus has snowballed into a major political controversy, after which, the Home Ministry issued a statement, saying the government "is committed to protect the fundamental rights of citizens, including the right of privacy and will take strict action against any intermediary responsible for breach of privacy".

Pegasus allegedly exploited WhatsApp's video calling system with installing the spyware via giving missed calls to snoop on 1,400 select users globally, including nearly 30-40 people in India.

On Friday, Ravi Shankar Prasad, at Zee News' India Ka DNA Conclave, also said that the government is committed to their right to privacy and people need not worry about it. 

(With IANS inputs)