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Delhi HC to hear WhatsApp new privacy policy case today

Updated on Jan 25, 2021 11:05 AM IST

The plea has said that the new norms, which are mandatory for the users to accept by February 8, also jeopardises the national security by sharing, transmitting and storing the users data in some another country

Delhi high court. (HT archive)
ByHT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha

The Delhi high court on Monday will hear a plea by a lawyer, challenging the new privacy policy of WhatsApp on the ground that it violates the right of privacy of individuals.

Alleging that WhatsApp has put a “Damocles’ sword on its users” to accept its new privacy policy, the plea said that the updated policy virtually scrutinises the personal profile of a user by 360 degree.

The plea, filed by advocate Chaitanya Rohilla, has said that the new norms, which are mandatory for the users to accept by February 8, also jeopardises the national security of the country by sharing, transmitting and storing the users data in some another country.

Also read | Delhi HC objects to WhatsApp asking judge not to hear PIL

It alleged that WhatsApp is integrating people into Facebook so that Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram (another subsidiary of Facebook) all become part of one package.

“WhatsApp has made a mockery out of our fundamental right to privacy while discharging a public function in India, besides jeopardising the national security of the country by sharing, transmitting and storing the users data in some another country. There remains a possibility that that foreign country might be a hostile country to India.

“Brazenly, WhatsApp has also made it mandatory for its users to accept this policy by February 8 or else the services and accounts of the respective users would be terminated. This type of arbitrary behaviour and brow beating cannot be accepted in a democracy and is completely ultra vires and against the fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution of India,” the plea said.

During a hearing last week, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva had remarked that WhatsApp is a private application and a person can opt out of it and use some other app if there were concerns about privacy and sharing of information.

WhatsApp’s lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, while refuting the allegations of sharing of data and breach of privacy, had also informed the high court that the new privacy policy has itself been deferred till April.

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