Centre Says Indian Users Are Subject to Different WhatsApp Policy

Sharma also told the court that the government has sent a whole list of questions to WhatsApp.

2 min read

The central government on Monday, 25 January, told the Delhi High Court that WhatsApp has different privacy measures for Indian and European users. Meanwhile, the app informed the court that the Centre has sought clarification regarding its new privacy policy and it will be responding to the communication.

During the hearing of the petition, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma also told the court that the government has sent a whole list of questions to WhatsApp, The Indian Express reported.

He said, “The privacy policy offered by WhatsApp to its European users specifically prohibits the use of any information shared with a Facebook company…this clause is not present in the privacy policy offered to Indians and Indian citizens who form a very very substantial part of WhatsApp’s userbase,” The Indian Express quoted.


Expressing concerns over Indian users being “subjected to these changes unilaterally,” without being given the option to opt out, Sharma said, “This leverages the social significance of WhatsApp to force users into a bargain which may infringe on the interest in relation to information privacy and information security.”

WhatsApp’s legal representative, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, claimed that this was misinformation and the app will be responding to it.

The hearing was then deferred to 1 March 2021 by Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, for the purpose of allowing the government to come to a decision in the meantime. Earlier, the court had observed that the policy is “not something which makes it mandatory for you to download.”

The petition, filed by advocate Chaitanya Rohilla, stated that the app’s privacy policy attacked individuals’ fundamental right to privacy and sought an injunction against the update. The petitioner also looked to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to lay down guidelines so that WhatsApp refrains from sharing user data with any third party or Facebook and its companies for any purpose, IANS reported.

(With inputs from IANS and The Indian Express)

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