Nonetheless, WhatsApp would continue to display the update to its users.
Nonetheless, WhatsApp would continue to display the update to its users.

WhatsApp won’t compel users to accept privacy policy, advocate Harish Salve tells Delhi HC

  • WhatsApp also clarified that it "will not limit the functionality" of the app for users who choose not to opt for the new privacy policy.
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Shivani Kumar | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 09, 2021 01:32 PM IST

WhatsApp, an instant messaging platform owned by Facebook, told the Delhi high court on Friday it will not compel its users to opt for its new privacy policy until the enactment of the data protection bill. It also informed the court the new policy has been put on hold and will be implemented "if Parliament allows it," according to a PTI report. Until then, it will not limit the functionality of its platform to users who choose not to opt for the new privacy policy, the platform said.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was hearing the appeals of Facebook and WhatsApp against a single-judge order refusing to stay an order of competition regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) directing a probe into WhatsApp's new privacy policy.

"We voluntarily agreed to put it (the policy) on hold... we will not compel people to accept it," advocate Harish Salve appearing on the behalf of WhatsApp. It would, however. continue to display the update to its users, Salve further said, according to the PTI report.

Later in the day, WhatsApp also released a statement, assuring users about the privacy concerns and said the recent update "does not change the privacy of people’s personal messages." "Its purpose is to provide additional information about how people can interact with businesses if they choose to do so," it said in the statement, a copy of which is with HT.

"We will not limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works in the coming weeks. Instead, we will continue to remind users from time to time about the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also said the company hopes this "approach reinforces the choice that all users have whether or not they want to interact with a business. We will maintain this approach until at least the forthcoming PDP law comes into effect."

"We reiterate that the privacy of users remains our highest priority," it said.

In January this year, WhatsApp updated its privacy policy, which allows the instant messaging service to share data about users' interactions with business accounts with its parent company Facebook.

The move sparked major privacy concerns among users as well as outrage after WhatsApp announced it would limit the functionality of its platform in case users choose not to accept the conditions. Following criticisms, the platform pushed back the roll-out of the policy but again said in February that it will go ahead with its decision. This came despite the Indian government urging the company to abandon its plans.

The Centre cited the rules in the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011, to contend that the updated privacy policy fails to specify the types of “sensitive personal” data being collected, and with whom the information was being shared.

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