NPCI seeks more changes in What­sApp data stor­age

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global - Dig­bi­jay.Mishra

Bengaluru: The Na­tional Pay­ments Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia (NPCI), which man­ages the Uni­fied Pay­ments In­ter­face (UPI), has asked pop­u­lar mes­sag­ing plat­form What­sApp to make ad­di­tional changes to its data-lo­cal­i­sa­tion com­pli­ance frame­work to get fi­nal ap­proval to launch pay­ments here, two peo­ple aware of the mat­ter said. Deloitte had pre­pared a third-party au­dit of What­sApp’s data com­pli­ance, which was sub­mit­ted to the NPCI, these peo­ple added.

For over 18 months now, What­sApp, which has 400 mil­lion monthly ac­tive users here, has been op­er­at­ing its pay­ments busi­ness on UPI in beta-mode, which is re­stricted to 1 mil­lion users. The ex­act tech­ni­cal na­ture of changes asked by the NPCI is not known. This comes after What­sApp’s global head Will Cath­cart had told TOI in July that the mes­sag­ing plat­form was com­pli­ant and that it is keen to launch pay­ments in In­dia at full scale in 2019.

Ac­cord­ing to peo­ple aware of the go­ings-on, What­sApp is yet to re­vert to the NPCI’s query ask­ing for new changes. “They had sub­mit­ted a re­port pre­pared by Deloitte. We have sent it back with sug­ges­tions to make a cou­ple of changes with re­gards to com­pli­ance stan­dards on data lo­cal­i­sa­tion,” one of the peo­ple men­tioned ear­lier said.

The Re­serve Bank of In­dia (RBI) has man­dated pay­ments ser­vice providers and third-party pay­ments app to store key pay­ments data ‘only’ in In­dia. In­ci­den­tally, the lat­est de­vel­op­ment co­in­cides with the six-week dead­line given by the Supreme Court to the RBI in Au­gust. The apex court had asked the cen­tral bank to sub­mit What­sApp’s com­pli­ance af­fi­davit in the court fol­low­ing a pe­ti­tion by the Cen­tre for Ac­count­abil­ity and Sys­temic Change (CASC), a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, chal­leng­ing the mes­sag­ing plat­form’s com­pli­ance stan­dards in In­dia.

When con­tacted, a What­sApp spokesper­son said, “We have noth­ing new to add to what Will (Cath­cart) said to you dur­ing his in­ter­view with you in July.” Emails sent to the NPCI and Deloitte In­dia did not elicit any re­sponse.

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