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WhatsApp data sharing policy: HC asks Centre to respond on plea

tech Updated: Aug 30, 2016 19:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The plea filed by two WhatsApp users contended that the company’s new policy ‘compromises the rights of its users’. (Reuters)

The Delhi high court on Tuesday asked the government to respond on a plea against instant messaging service WhatsApp’s recent decision to share user data with parent company Facebook.

The plea filed by two WhatsApp users contended that the company’s new policy ‘compromises the rights of its users’.

The HC bench asked the Centre to respond by September 14.

“The privacy policy is in stark contrast to the Privacy Policy existing from July 7, 2012. In its first revised modification on August 25, 2016, respondents (WhatsApp, Facebook Inc. and Facebook India Online Pvt Ltd) have introduced this policy which severely compromises the rights of its users and makes the privacy rights of users completely vulnerable,” the plea by Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi said.

The petition said the new policy, which is likely to come into force from September 25, may change the , “most valuable, basic and essential feature of WhatsApp by unilaterally threatening to take away the protection to privacy of details and data of its users and sharing the same with Facebook and all its group companies including for the purpose of commercial advertising and marketing”.

Senior advocates Sandeep Sethi and Pratibha M Singh, appearing for the petitioners, argued that it is a “very serious breach of policy”.

“The manner in which so-called consent is sought to be taken is highly deceptive in as much as almost the entire community of users of WhatsApp in India are not equipped to even read, much less comprehend, the consequences of the terms and conditions on the basis whereupon, WhatsApp is pretending to obtain consent of the users,” the plea said.