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Govt to examine alleged WhatsApp’s privacy breach

Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that the government will examine Meta-owned messaging service WhatsApp’s alleged breach of privacy. His comment was based on a claim that WhatsApp accessed a user’s microphone while he was sleeping.

“WhatsApp has been using the microphone in the background, while I was asleep and since I woke up at 6AM,” Foad Dabiri, an engineering director at Twitter said on Saturday.

After the engineer complained about the microphone usage by WhatsApp on Saturday, the messaging app said on Tuesday that it has been in touch with the Twitter engineer over the last 24 hours who posted an issue with his Pixel phone and WhatsApp.

The company also claimed that users have full control over their mic settings.

“Once granted permission, WhatsApp only accesses the mic when a user is making a call or recording a voice note or video – and even then, these communications are protected by end-to-end encryption so WhatsApp cannot hear them,” it added further.

The complaint comes at a time when WhatsApp has already been under the government’s scrutiny. In October last year, the Meta-owned messaging app witnessed a two-hour service disruption. Later, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) directed the messaging platform to file a report on the matter, asking the platform to share reasons for the disruption.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp users in India have reported a major surge in incoming international spam calls over the past few days. Many users complained on Twitter that a major chunk of these spam calls had country codes belonging to Indonesia (+62), Vietnam (+84), Malaysia (+60), Kenya (+254) and Ethiopia (+251).

Zerodha cofounder Nikhil Kamath and Unacademy CEO Gaurav Munjal, and many other Indian entrepreneurs have also flagged this spam calls issue.

According to a Statista report, there are over 487 Mn WhatsApp users in India alone, making it the biggest market for the company. Inc42

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