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Plea moved in Supreme Court seeking stay on WhatsApp privacy policy updates

The plea stated that the 2021 Policy of WhatsApp is highly invasive and has been unilaterally forced upon Indian internet users.
Earlier this month WhatsApp had introduced its privacy policy mandating its users to accept its terms and conditions.(Bloomberg)
Published on Jan 30, 2021 11:16 PM IST
ANI | , New Delhi

The Internet Freedom Foundation has approached Supreme Court challenging WhatsApp's updated privacy policy which was introduced earlier this month in India.

The petitioner sought guidelines to safeguard the personal data and privacy of over 400 million Indian WhatsApp users.

It has sought an interim stay on the operation of the messaging platform's new Privacy Policy.

The plea stated that the 2021 Policy of WhatsApp is highly invasive and has been unilaterally forced upon Indian internet users.

It urged the Court to grant an ad-interim order, restraining the sharing of any personal data of users by Whatsapp with Facebook for marketing or other purposes.

The intervention application is filed in an appeal filed by Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi in 2017, which had challenged the 2016 privacy policy of WhatsApp. The matter is being heard by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.

It requested the Court to direct WhatsApp to provide the same standard of privacy protections to its Indian users as it is providing to users in the European Region. It also asked Court to direct provide its users with an opt-out option while using its services, to allow users to opt-out of sharing their data with Facebook for marketing and advertising purpose.

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Earlier this month WhatsApp had introduced its privacy policy mandating its users to accept its terms and conditions, failing which the accounts and services would be terminated after February 08, 2021, for the respective user.

After facing criticism over the privacy policy, WhatApp took to micro-blogging site Twitter clarifying that "no one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8 and we will be moving back our business plans until after May."

Earlier Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) also filed a plea in the top court challenging the new WhatsApp policy stating that the Centre has failed to discharge its constitutional duty and responsibility by protecting the privacy rights of citizens forcing the petitioner to approach the top court.

It had sought a direction to WhatsApp and Facebook to allow the government to carry out 'Technical Audits' of their data centres, where the data of Indian Users are stored, so as the retrieve and delete such data of Indian Users.

It had said that in 2016, Germany, the United Kingdom and the entire European Union had prohibited similar action of Facebook which was also asked to delete all the data relating to Whatsapp users.

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