HC issues notice to Centre on plea seeking direction for WhatsApp to rollback new Privacy Policy

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On Wednesday, the High Court of Delhi issued a notice to the Centre and WhatsApp Inc. on a plea seeking direction to provide with an option to opt-out of sharing personal data with Facebook as mandated by the new policy of WhatsApp.

The plea also sought direction to the Centre to frame guidelines/regulations for safeguarding the privacy of the citizens. It stated that the fissures in law with respect to data are quite conspicuous & a framework to regulate the same is the need of the hour.

On Wednesday, the Division Bench of Justices DN Patel and Jyoti Singh sought response from the Centre through the Ministry of Electronics & IT & Whatsapp Inc. & slated the matter for March 19, 2021.
Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma apprised the court that a Joint Parliamentary Committee is already examining this matter.

The petitioners Dr Seema Singh, Meghan & Vikram Singh further sought the issuance of direction to the Centre to direct Whatsapp Inc to either roll back their policy or in the alternative provide an option to the users of their platform to opt-out of the Jan 4th, 2021 privacy policy & also to provide the users who have accepted the privacy policy to be given another option to choose for themselves.

The plea sought the Centre to formulate social media intermediary guidelines as the new WhatsApp privacy policy is “violative of Article 21” which enshrines the Right to privacy.

It also mentioned that the personal data of the users can be further shared & used by Facebook companies as well as third parties for their commercial purposes.

The plea said that social media in recent years is used by billions of people around the world, 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.”

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