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We will protect people’s privacy: SC to WhatsApp | India News


NEW DELHI: Holding that it is the duty of the court to protect citizens ‘right to privacy, the Supreme Court agreed on Monday to examine WhatsApp’s new privacy policy under which it allegedly plans to share its users’ data with Facebook and other companies. .
A bank from CJI SA Bobde and judges AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said that there was a general apprehension among people about the loss of their privacy and that a notice should be issued in the case.
The court made it clear that it would not allow the sharing of data by the company, which compromised the rights of its users, and gave WhatsApp four weeks to submit an affidavit stating that it would not share the data of the users. users.
“It may be a two or three trillion dollar company, but people’s privacy is more valuable,” the court said in what marked a forceful intervention for their right to privacy and that can strengthen the momentum of the government and the civil society actors to bring media platforms under regulation.
The Center supported the petitioner, and Attorney General Tushar Mehta told the court that there should be no sharing of user data and the data should be protected.
WhatsApp policies are different for India and Europe, says complaint
The court was hearing a guilty plea from startup founder and engineer Karmanya Singh Sareen, who sought her intervention to prevent WhatsApp from enforcing its 2021 policy. Sareen had in 2016 challenged the previous WhatsApp policy and the petition is still pending in SC before a Constitutional court.
Attorney Shyam Diwan, who appears on behalf of Sareen, argued that WhatsApp was following a different policy for European countries and that the set of rules for India is different. He said the Center has also taken it seriously and has written to the company. After hearing Diwan, the court said it was impressed by his arguments and that the privacy policy should be examined as there is no data protection law in the country.
But advocates Kapil Sibal and Arvind Datar, who appear for Facebook and WhatsApp, refuted the data-sharing accusation, saying the same policy applies to the rest of the world except European countries. “The European Union has a data protection law, so there is a different privacy policy to comply with the law. If India frames a law on data protection, that policy will also apply to India, ”Sibal told the court. However, the court said the issue should be examined and asked the companies to submit an affidavit.
The petitioner argued that there is an enormous amount of metadata that the company could use for commercial purposes and that it should be avoided. “A simple reading of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy makes it clear that it now intends to collect substantially more data from its users’ mobile phones / devices than in the 2016 privacy policy, and all this data will be shared by WhatsApp with Facebook and other third parties, who can then use this data as they wish for commercial exploitation, advertising, etc. ”Says the petition.
“The new policy allows WhatsApp to capture and store information and personal data of users such as their phone numbers, contacts, behavior patterns, status messages, profile images, group names, group descriptions, group images, accounts payment, transaction information, messages exchanged with commercial accounts, etc. “, He said.

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