WhatsApp’s Data Sharing Policy Upheld

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The Delhi High Court upheld WhatsApp’s revised privacy policy.

The order of the division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal comes on a public interest litigation filed by users, against changes to the messaging service’s privacy policy, first made public on August 25.

The petition had sought to restrain the over-the-top (OTT) platform from implementing its modified policy, which according to the petitioners, unilaterally compromised the privacy rights of users by gaining consent for sharing of information in a surreptitious and deceptive manner.

Court’s order upheld WhatsApp’s data sharing policy, the platform has been directed to erase all information, data and details of users who choose to delete their accounts.

The bench has also prohibited the messaging service from sharing any data or information acquired till September 25, from users who decide to remain.

Centre and TRAI have also been directed to consider the issues raised in the petition and take measures to see if it is feasible to bring such OTT services under a statutory framework to protect the interests of users.

Background:

WhatsApp’s modified policy is slated to come into effect from September 25 and proposes to share information of users with parent company Facebook Inc. (and affiliate entities).

Unlike traditional telecom operators, there are currently no rules to regulate OTT platforms. The lack of guidelines on encryption standards for these entities, also have the potential to pose national security concerns.

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