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Updated Privacy Policy ‘Voluntarily’ On Hold: WhatsApp Tells Delhi HC

The court is hearing a plea by WhatsApp, and Facebook, challenging a CCI inquiry into the policy.

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Tech and Auto
2 min read
WA privacy policy in HC: Centre raises trick-consent tactics to lure users
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WhatsApp on Friday, 9 July informed the Delhi High Court that they have put updated privacy policy on hold, reported Bar&Bench.

The court is hearing a plea by WhatsApp, and Facebook, challenging a CCI (Competition Commission of India) inquiry into the policy.

The instant messaging app noted that it will not limit functionality for users not opting for new privacy policy. "We will not compel users to opt for new privacy policy till data protection bill comes into force," Senior Advocate Harish Salve, representing WhatsApp, told the court.

"We voluntarily agreed to put it (the policy) on hold... we will not compel people to accept," Salve asserted.

This development has come after the Indian government on 3 June told the Delhi High Court that WhatsApp is indulging in anti-user practices by obtaining "trick consent" from its users for its updated privacy policy of 2021.

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'Obtaining Trick Consent'

Earlier, the Centre said that WhatsApp is sending push notifications to its users in India, forcing them to accept the updated privacy policy and the messaging app should be restrained from doing the same.

The affidavit was filed by the Centre, seeking directions to the central government to order WhatsApp to either roll back the new privacy policy or provide an option for users to opt out.

WhatsApp has also been accused by the Centre of transferring the entire existing user base to committing to its updated privacy policy before the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill becomes a law.

Breaking End-to End Encryption

Earlier, in May, WhatsApp moved the Delhi High Court on the ground that the new IT rules would cause the platform to ‘break privacy protections’.

WhatsApp is worried that the social media intermediary IT rules will go against its 'end-to-end encryption' stance that pledges to never read or store messages on their servers, resulting in a stalemate between the company and government.

The Centre had proposed to assign alphanumeric hashes to WhatsApp messages so that originator of every message can be traced back

(With inputs from Bar&Bench and PTI)

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