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  WhatsApp will comply with HC ruling on privacy debate

WhatsApp will comply with HC ruling on privacy debate

| FRANCIS D’SA
Published : Oct 1, 2016, 2:43 am IST
Updated : Oct 1, 2016, 2:43 am IST

In an official statement to Deccan Chronicle, WhatsApp said they will comply with the orders issued by the Delhi High Court.

LEAD FACEBOOK WHATSAPP.jpg
 LEAD FACEBOOK WHATSAPP.jpg

In an official statement to Deccan Chronicle, WhatsApp said they will comply with the orders issued by the Delhi High Court. On September 23, the division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal directed WhatsApp not to share users’ data collected before September 25, with Facebook or any other company.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp had changed their privacy policy on August 25, which stated that the messaging platform will be sharing their users' data with the parent company Facebook Inc and all other companies below Facebook. The data will be used for their internal analysis and will help the company improve their services ahead and also help in targeting advertisements to users on Facebook. Users had a 30-day time frame to decide if they want WhatsApp to allow their data to be shared across and September 25 was the last date for users to opt in or out.

 

Post the announcement, two Indian students filed a PIL against WhatsApp in the Delhi High Court. The Delhi High Court ruled in favour of the students' PIL and directed WhatsApp to delete all the users' data they collected up to September 25 and not share it with its parent company Facebook Inc.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra representing WhatsApp, said that the messaging service, under its new privacy policy, will only share the user's name and phone numbers from his contact book with Facebook and its companies.

"WhatsApp does not have access to any data as it provides end-to-end encryption. We only have access to the person's name and number which is also obtained by online consent. We are abiding by the central government's regulations for messenger apps. We are not dealing with sensitive information at all," Luthra said.

 

Senior advocate Pratibha M Singh, who represented the two Indian students (petitioners) Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, had argued that WhatsApp was sharing the entire data with Facebook even if users opted out of the new policy.

The bench slammed WhatsApp to remove all user data collected earlier than September 25 before the platform's new privacy policy took effect. The Delhi High Court had also directed the telecom regulator TRAI to take the matter into priority and consider bringing WhatsApp and similar OTT-based services under regulation.

However, there was no action confirmed from WhatsApp or Facebook after the HC ruling. Reports claimed that Facebook could appeal to the higher court (as they did in Germany). We reached out to WhatsApp to find out if they were following the Delhi High Court's ruling, and they replied in positive.

 

"WhatsApp will comply with the order from the Delhi High Court. We plan to proceed with the privacy policy and terms update in accordance with the court's order. The court's emphasis on the importance of user choice and consent is encouraging," a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement to Deccan Chronicle via email.