An international calls scam on WhatsApp has ensnared thousands of Indian users, leading IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar to issue a stern notice to Meta, WhatsApp’s parent company. The notice stresses that digital platforms bear the responsibility of securing user safety. Moreover, in instances of alleged misuse or privacy violations, platforms must provide a response.
Reports have surfaced from numerous WhatsApp users regarding unsolicited calls from international numbers, originating from countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Addressing these concerns, the IT Minister, at an event organized by the Public Affairs Forum of India, stated, “The Ministry is taking note of it, they will send them a notice.” He emphasized that the government will respond to any purported misuse or privacy breach and is contemplating guidelines for preloaded apps. He also highlighted the need for platforms like WhatsApp to address spam issues promptly.
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Chandrasekhar raised an important question – how are scammers gaining access to WhatsApp numbers? He queried, “How are they able to identify which numbers are on WhatsApp…are they doing it blindly?…is it some database they have got? If there is a database, it is a violation of privacy, or if not, are they doing it through a bot…sending messages to random numbers?”
In its defense, WhatsApp released a statement asserting its commitment to user privacy and safety. The platform has ramped up its AI and Machine Learning systems to counter such incidents. WhatsApp aims to cut down the current calling rate by at least 50% and to continue working relentlessly towards providing a safe user experience.
WhatsApp is also facing scrutiny for the app’s microphone usage, following a report from a Twitter engineer that WhatsApp was accessing his Pixel phone’s microphone during his sleep. WhatsApp responded by attributing this issue to an Android bug causing misattribution on the privacy dashboard.
This news is based on a report from the businesstoday website.