SC Refuses to Entertain Plea Against WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde observed that this issue is already being heard by the Delhi High Court

2 min read
Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme Court on Friday, 5 February, refused to entertain a plea which had sought a direction to instant messaging platform WhatsApp to roll back its new privacy policy on grounds that it is allegedly violative of laws and can impact the country's security, news agency PTI reported.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde observed that this issue is already being heard by the Delhi High Court and the petitioner can choose the suitable remedy.

The bench, also comprising justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, was hearing a plea filed by Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) which had sought a direction to the Centre to intervene in the matter and frame guidelines to govern big-tech companies such as WhatsApp Inc, Facebook Inc and Facebook India.

WhatsApp head Will Cathart had clarified last month that the recent privacy policy update “does not change WhatsApp's data-sharing practices with Facebook.”

Announced on 5 January, WhatsApp had initially given its 2 billion users across the world time till 8 February to accept its updated policy or be unable to use the app. That has been postponed by three months now.

The petitioner had alleged that the updated privacy policy of WhatsApp would adversely impact the citizens’ fundamental right to privacy and is also fundamentally opposed to their representation.

According to the PTI report, the plea before SC said that users share confidential information on the platform on the assurance that their private and personal conversations, along with their confidential data and information, will neither be accessed by any other person (including the service provider itself) nor would such data or information be shared or exploited or utilised by anyone in any manner whatsoever.

"Thus, the technology giants who deal with such data must have a fiduciary duty to ensure that the information they so possess and collect from citizens and businesses must be safe and not used for their own commercial gains without the consent of the users. It is also the responsibility of the State to guarantee and ensure the protection of the personal and private data and information of the citizens," the plea had said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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