SC Asks WhatsApp for Details of User Data Given to Third Parties

The apex court did not pass an order and fixed the matter for hearing on 20 November.

2 min read
Hindi Female

WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it did not share any data with a third-party, other than 'last seen', telephone number and device details.

The clarification came as the Centre told the Supreme Court that an expert committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of former apex court judge Justice BN Srikrishna to identify key data protection issues in India and recommend methods to address them.

The apex court did not pass an order and fixed the matter for hearing on 20 November. WhatsApp has been asked to file an affidavit within four weeks, enlisting details of what data is shared with third parties.


During the hearing, the lawyer appearing for the petitioners who have challenged the 2016 WhatsApp privacy policy, claimed in the court that WhatsApp was sharing user data with other entities.

Senior advocate KV Vishwanathan, appearing for one of the parties challenging the privacy policy said there should be an injunction restraining them from sharing data with a third-party.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Arvind Datar, appearing for WhatsApp and Facebook respectively, denied the allegations and said they were not sharing data with any third party. Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014.


Sibal also said that no content shared on WhatsApp by the users was shared with anybody else because it was end-to-end encrypted and even WhatsApp cannot look into the messages or photos shared by its users.

The petitioners also contended that though the privacy verdict has come, there were several key aspects which were required to be dealt with by this five-judge bench.

However, the bench said, "a committee has been set up. It is not a simple human rights issue. In what manner data protection would be there, the committee will consider it".

The petitioners have claimed in their plea that after the 2016 privacy policy, personal data was being shared and other data collected by WhatsApp were used for commercial purposes.

The apex court was hearing the appeal assailing the Delhi High Court verdict on the ground that no relief was granted for the data shared by the users after 25 September 2016, which amounted to infringement of the fundamental rights under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

(With inputs from PTI)

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