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HC grants time to Centre to examine WhatsApp’s new privacy policy

WhatsApp files lawsuit in Delhi High Court against new IT rules

Policy and Regulations

HC grants time to Centre to examine WhatsApp’s new privacy policy

The Centre on Monday told the Delhi High Court that WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, which is scheduled to come into effect from May 15, was being being examined at the highest level and they were seeking some clarification from the instant messaging platform on the issue. Taking note of the submission, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva granted three weeks time to the Centre for the purpose and asked it to file a status report while listing the matter for further hearing on April 19. The court was hearing a petition by a lawyer against the new privacy policy of Facebook-owned WhatsApp on the ground that it violates users right to privacy under the Constitution.

Central government standing counsel Kirtiman Singh said they are in the process of gathering more clarity on the issue and are seeking clarifications from the instant messaging platform. He said the matter is being examined at the highest level and sought three weeks time to file the status report. The Centre had earlier informed the high court that WhatsApp was treating Indian users differently from Europeans over opting out of its new privacy policy which was a matter of concern for the government and it was looking into the issue. It had also said it was also a matter of concern that Indian users were being “unilaterally” subjected to the change in privacy policy by the instant messaging platform. The high court had earlier observed that WhatsApp was a private app and it was optional whether to download it or not.

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The Centre had said the government was already looking into the issue and has sent a communication to WhatsApp seeking certain information. WhatsApp’s counsel had told the court that the communication has been received from the Centre and will be responded to. The plea by Chaitanya Rohilla, through advocate Manohar Lal, has claimed that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp allows full access into a user’s online activity without there being any supervision by the government. Under the new policy, users can either accept it or exit the app, but they cannot opt not to share their data with other Facebook-owned or third party apps, it said.



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