The highest court in India granted the central bank six weeks to indicate whether WhatsApp had met the data localization standards while the Facebook messenger was preparing to launch a payment service in the country, said a person involved in this case.
WhatsApp has been testing a peer-to-peer payment service in India for more than a year, its largest market for users, but local data storage standards have delayed its official launch.
Foreign payment companies were taken by surprise last year by the directive of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that all payment data should be stored “only in India” for “ unfettered supervisory access “.
Last June, Clarified the rules that foreign payment companies can process transactions made in India outside the country, but the corresponding data must be returned for local storage within 24 hours.
WhatsApp has encountered an additional obstacle as a group of experts based in Delhi, the Center for Responsibility and Systemic Change, alleged in a petition to the Supreme Court last year that the company did not comply with the rules for localizing payment data.
Last week, WhatsApp’s global head Will Cathcart said WhatsApp was all set to roll out its payments service in India this year and that it was now in full compliance with the data localization norms.
It is about this request that the Supreme Court asked the RBI to file an answer. WhatsApp did not immediately respond to a request for comment while the Reserve Bank of India declined to comment.
On Friday, the Supreme Court also asked the federal government to clarify, within six weeks, its position on whether the company’s complaint officer should be based in India, according to the person.
WhatsApp has a grievance officer based in California that deals with matters related to India. The current rules of India do not force a technology company to have such a leader stationed in the country, a rule that the government wants to change.
The country’s technology minister told parliament that New Delhi was seriously considering that social media companies ” be required to locate their grievance officer in India”.
WhatsApp previously indicated that it was working to have a grievance officer based in India.
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