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WhatsApp informed Supreme Court about new privacy policy on January 5

WhatsApp Inc. informed the Supreme Court about its new privacy policy on January 5, 2021, a day after it announced the new policy on January 4.

By way of an affidavit filed on January 5, the messaging service company owned by Facebook told the top court that it is updating its privacy policy with effect from February 8, 2021.

“WhatsApp is updating its privacy policy effective as of February 8, 2021. A copy of the updated privacy policy which may be further updated and to which users will be consenting to use WhatsApp’s services is provided as Annexure,” the affidavit said.

As per the new privacy policy, WhatsApp shares user information globally. Such sharing happens internally within the Facebook Companies and externally with partners and service providers, and with those with users communicate around the world, in accordance with its updated privacy policy.

The affidavit was filed in a pending case before the Constitution bench where its 2016 user policy was challenged by two college students – Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi.

Singh and Sareen had initially approached Delhi High Court challenging the 2016 privacy policy. The Delhi High Court had on September 23, 2016 granted partial relief stating that the data of those WhatsApp Users who delete WhatsApp before the 2016 policy came into effect – cannot be used for any purposes as laid down in the 2016 privacy policy.

The said decision then came to be challenged before Supreme Court since the High Court granted only partial relief.

The Supreme Court, in April 2017, referred the matter to a Constitution Bench.

Later when the Constitution Bench took up the case, it was kept pending after the Court was informed that Justice BN Srikrishna led committee was preparing a Data Protection Bill.

Subsequently, WhatsApp updated its user policy on January 4, 2021, in view of which it filed this fresh affidavit before the Supreme Court on January 5, 2021.

After WhatsApp placed on record its latest privacy policy, the petitioners also filed an application seeking urgent directions from the Court to stay the operation of the new privacy policy.

In their application, the petitioners have prayed for directions to be issued to WhatsApp that it shall not apply lower privacy standards for Indian Users and shall apply the same privacy policy and terms of use for Indian users as is being applied for users in the European Region.

The petitioners contended that the way the new privacy policy of WhatsApp was framed and the terms of the new policy result in grave affront to the fundamental right of privacy of crores of Indian citizens using WhatsApp on a daily basis.

“There is no clarity on when the Data Protection legislation will be passed and brought into effect in India. To protect the rights of crores of citizens of India, till an appropriate regulatory regime is brought into existence by operation of law, it is imperative that this Hon’ble Court prohibits the operation of the new Privacy Policy sought to be made mandatory by WhatsApp,” the application stated.

Meanwhile, a fresh petition was filed before the Delhi High Court challenging the new privacy policy of WhatsApp. That petition by an advocate, Chaitanya Rohilla will be heard on January 25.

Via Bar & Bench
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