WhatsApp Privacy Policy: Plea moved in Supreme Court seeking stay

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

The petitioner sought guidelines to safeguard the personal data & 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 petition said that the 2021 Policy of WhatsApp is highly invasive & 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 & Shreya Sethi in 2017, which had challenged the 2016 privacy policy of WhatsApp. The matter is being heard by a Constitution Bench of the Apex 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 & advertising purpose.

Earlier this month WhatsApp had introduced its privacy policy mandating its users to accept its terms & conditions, failing which the accounts & services would be terminated after Feb 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 Feb 8 & 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 & responsibility by protecting the privacy rights of citizens forcing the petitioner to approach the Supreme 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 & delete such data of Indian Users.

It had said that in 2016, Germany, the United Kingdom & 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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