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  India   All India  22 Jul 2017  Data safety integral part of right to life, says government

Data safety integral part of right to life, says government

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jul 22, 2017, 6:59 am IST
Updated : Jul 22, 2017, 6:59 am IST

The Bench was hearing petitions, which said that privacy of citizens has been infringed by WhatsApp and Facebook.

Mr. Sibal contended that WhatsApp does not share data protection of voice and messages.
 Mr. Sibal contended that WhatsApp does not share data protection of voice and messages.

New Delhi: The Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that protection of data being shared in WhatsApp and other social media networks is an integral part of right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution and the Centre was mulling coming out with a law to regulate sharing of data.

Additional solicitor-general P.S. Narasimha told a five-judge Constitution bench of Justices Dipak Misra, A.K. Sikri, Amitav Roy, A.M. Kanwilkar and M.M. Shantanagouder, “My (individual) personal data is intimate to me. It is an integral part of my right to lead a life with dignity. If there is any contractual obligation between the individual and the service provider impinges on my right, State will have to intervene and regulate sharing of such data and government will bring a regulatory framework to protect privacy of WhatsApp, Facebook and other messages in the social media.”

This stand of the Centre is in contrast to the stand taken by the government before a nine-judge Constitution hearing the “Right to Privacy” issue, that sharing of biometric data under the Aadhaar card can be shared for certain purposes as `right to privacy’ is not a fundamental right.

Senior counsel Harish Salve said the policy of information sharing that is formulated by WhatsApp is unconscionable and is unacceptable and also suffers from constitutional vulnerability since it affects the freedom, which is a cherished right of an individual under the Constitution.

He contended that by imposition, the WhatsApp couldn’t formulate such a policy under the garb of data sharing.

He said many countries had introduced data protection policies and the Centre should come out with data control policy for service providers that they could not use the data for commercial purposes.  

Justice Misra agreed with Mr. Salve and said the issue had many dimensions touching of Articles 14 (equality), 19 (various freedoms); 21 (right to life and liberty) and 25 (right to religion) and required an elaborate hearing.    

Mr. Sibal contended that WhatsApp does not share data protection of voice and messages, so no part of the content that is exchanged between two individuals is ever revealed to third party and, therefore, the submission of Mr. Salve is without any substance. In no country it is regualted, he argued.

The Bench was hearing petitions, which said that privacy of citizens has been infringed by WhatsApp and Facebook, which amounted to infringement of Articles 19 (Freedom of Speech and Expression) and 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution. They said the social networking sites compromised the privacy of interpersonal communication of over 150 million people in the country and there should be some regulation. The bench posted the matetr for final hearing on September 6.

Tags: right to privacy, social media
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi