Facebook-owned WhatsApp has reportedly not given a timeline for complying with the Reserve Bank of India’s data localisation norms, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) said.
The popular messaging application, which has over 200 Mn users in India, had announced in October this year that it has built a system to comply with the data localisation directive. However, NPCI had ruled that the move is not enough as it didn’t mention clearly if the data will be stored exclusively in India or will there be copies of it kept overseas as well.
The central government had ruled that the company would not be allowed to launch its payment arm – WhatsApp Pay – until it sets up an office in India and recruits a team in the country.
In order to comply with the ruling, the company is reportedly planning to set up an office in Hyderabad and has also appointed Ezetap’s chief executive, Abhijit Bose, as head of its Indian operations.
WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels also wrote a formal letter to the central bank requesting approval for an immediate rollout of WhatsApp Pay. The letter, dated November 5, also said that its partner banks have also filed for a formal approval.
WhatsApp has been busy trying to clear regulatory roadblocks not only for launching WhatsApp Pay but also curbing the spread of fake news on its platform. Following the issues related to ‘unfortunate killings’ in India, the company has also committed $1 Mn for researching on how the messaging application is being used for spreading fake news.
Further, this year, the country also recorded many incidences of data breaches. In line with these incidences, the central government has stood firm on its policy for data localisation.
In April this year, the RBI had directed that all payment companies are to store sensitive user data within the Indian servers only. The central bank had set a deadline of October 15 for the fintech players to comply with the ruling.
While some of the global players such as Alibaba, Paytm, Google, Microsoft, Xiaomi, and VMW have voiced support for the data localisation move, other companies like Visa and Mastercard have sought a 12 month extension on the RBI deadline.
[The development was reported by TOI]