WhatsApp on Wednesday said it does not retain information of its users on its servers once the account has been deleted by the user.
The popular instant messaging app was responding to a query by the Delhi high court about the fate of users’ information once an account is deleted.
WhatsApp’s last month decision to share user data with parent company Facebook has been under the high court’s scrutiny after two Delhi-based users moved petitions contending it “severely compromises the rights of its users”.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said it won’t go into any other issue raised in the petition except what happen to the user’s data if he decides to delete account.
“If a user opts out, what happens…Is there a probability to share it (user’s data),” the bench asked.
Senior advocate Sidharth Lutra, appearing for WhatsApp, responded that all data gets deleted once the account is deactivated.
The petitioners, however, opposed WhatsApp’s submission saying that user information continues to be retained for a longer period of time even after it is deleted.
Senior advocate Pratibha M Singh, appearing for petitioners Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, said while WhatsApp claims in its affidavit that it does not retain messages, the company has contradicted itself by saying it can keep the messages for a longer period of time to improve performance.
Singh said WhatsApp was sharing the entire data with Facebook even if users opt out of the new policy. “Even if you accept or don’t accept, Facebook will continue to use the users information,” she said.
She had on last hearing claimed that WhatsApp has about seven crore users in India, one-tenth of its total users worldwide.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the high court said it will pass its order on September 23.