This is the second petition challenging the new privacy policy of WhatsApp. (Representational Image)
This is the second petition challenging the new privacy policy of WhatsApp. (Representational Image)

Delhi HC seeks Centre’s reply on plea challenging WhatsApp privacy policy

The plea has also sought formulation of guidelines, rules and regulation for safeguarding the privacy of the citizens; contending that the new policy is in violation of the right to privacy of an individual
By Richa banka, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2021 04:28 AM IST

The Delhi high court on Wednesday sought the response of the Centre and WhatsApp on a plea challenging the latter’s new privacy policy. The plea is seeking directions to the authorities to provide users with an option to opt out of sharing users’ personal data with Facebook, as mandated in the updated policy.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and justice Jyoti Singh issued notices to the ministry of electronics and information technology and WhatsApp on the plea which has contended that the new policy is in violation of right to privacy of an individual.

The plea has also sought formulation of guidelines, rules and regulation for safeguarding the privacy of the citizens. It has said that the “fissures in law with respect to data are quite conspicuous and a framework to regulate the same is the need of the hour”.

Also read | Any ‘senior, responsible’ Facebook staff can appear before panel

On Wednesday, additional solicitor general (ASG) Chetan Sharma said the Centre has sent out questionnaires to WhatsApp on various issues, seeking answers. He also said a joint parliamentary committee is looking into the matter.

The PIL, filed by Seema Singh and Meghan Singh, said, “Social media in recent years has been used by billions of people around the world and millions of Indians today are dependent on Whatsapp. Therefore information which is generally personal is shared at an enormous level. This information is susceptible to being misused if the social media giant decides to either sell or exploit the information, sensitive to the users, to any third party.”

Also Read | SC notice on privacy concerns to Google, WhatsApp, Amazon UPIs

This is the second petition challenging the new privacy policy.

Earlier, a law student, Chaitanya Rohilla, had challenged the new privacy policy which has now been pushed to May after backlash on its terms and conditions. Earlier, WhatsApp had made it mandatory for the users to accept the new conditions by February 8.

The court, while hearing Rohilla’s plea, had said that WhatsApp is a private application and it is not mandatory for people to download it if they had problems with its new policy. The matter is likely to be heard on March 1.

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