WhatsApp, Facebook, TRAI, Centre issued notice by SC over new data-sharing privacy policy

In recent updates Hon’ble Supreme Court of India hearing an appeal filed by Karmanya Singh (engineering student) and Shreya Sethi (law student) concerning the privacy policy of the WhatsApp where the data of the users shall be subject to non-disclosure and sharing with the third parties. The present petition is challenging to scrap down the new privacy policy of the WhatsApp which are being violative of Article 19 (freedom of speech and expression) and article 21 (Right to life) under the Constitution of India as per the contentions raised by petitioners. Last month WhatsApp announced that it would share user’s information with Facebook amid Delhi HC ordered not to share user’s info gathered before Sep 25 2016.

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WhatsApp made its debut in India in the year 2010 with one of the terms and condition was for protecting the privacy of the user of the app. Later on the in the year 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp, both the companies has U.S. origin, where it had affirmed that the then privacy policy will be continued. On 25/09/2016 an update required to agree with new conditions of privacy policies so as to continue using WhatsApp, that was challenged under PIL before the Hon’ble Delhi high court HC headed by Chief Justice G. Rohini. While disposing PIL, it directed to delete the data of the users on WhatsApp account of before 25/09/2016 even of those who opts to agree with new terms and conditions, further not to share information with its new owner that is Facebook and its group companies for the purpose of advertisement and direct product messages on Facebook in its amended terms and upheld new privacy policy. It is important to mention that the order of Delhi HC does not provide when WhatsApp be deleting such data. TRAI and the Centre were directed to examined whether will it be feasible to bring an instant messaging app like WhatsApp and Facebook bring under existing legal framework and are does not come under the purview of any legislation, and it refuse to pass any order which does not violate any law. The more interestingly right to privacy as an actionable right is still under review.

The apex court said “It’s a free service, take it or leave it” and to delete the account in the case who do not want to share information with Facebook and to protect privacy. Chief Justice Kehar said “Here you don’t pay, this is a private service. You want to continue using private service and at the same time want to protect your privacy”. Mr. Harish Salve along with Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi would be challenging the order of Delhi HC as Apex Court agreed to hear the plea and WhatsApp, Facebook, Telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) and Government were issued notice for the same.

Reported By: Harpal Parmar

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