Pakistan has become the latest country to develop messaging apps to replace WhatsApp.
California-based WhatsApp said on January 4 it reserved the right to share some data including location and phone number with Facebook and its units such as Instagram and Messenger. This move has led governments around the globe to investigate the implications of data sharing.
Federal Minister for Information Technology Amin ul Haq shared on Friday that a WhatsApp alternate, named Smart Office, is being developed and is currently under the testing phase. If approved, the app will be used by government officials and employees.
he said the app will be released by June 2021. “A similar app is being developed for all citizens to use,” he added, stressing that it would offer complete protection of user data and communication record.
He revealed that the Ministry has enacted the “Personal Data Protection Act 2020”, which will be submitted to the Law Department for legal review before being submitted to the Federal Cabinet.
“The new legislature takes into account international laws and policies of social media companies. It has been drafted after taking recommendations from stakeholders.”
Amin ul Haq said the bill aims to protect Pakistani consumers and promote economic activity.
The federal minister said that under the newly implemented social media rules, social media companies are required to set up offices in Pakistan. He added that the government is waiting for a response from technology companies.