1. SC seeks government’s response on plea for framing privacy policy of Facebook and WhatsApp

SC seeks government’s response on plea for framing privacy policy of Facebook and WhatsApp

Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are now a part of daily lives and hence under the Indian constitution falls under public utility service. It is important know if these platforms in anyway harm one's privacy preferences.

By: | Updated: January 16, 2017 3:46 PM
WhatsApp's flaw questions the privacy of messages sent within the platform, all around the world. (Source: AP) WhatsApp’s flaw questions the privacy of messages sent within the platform, all around the world. (Source: AP)

On Monday Supreme Court issued notice to Facebook, WhatsApp and TRAI regarding their privacy policy. It has seeked assistance of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi in the case. The SC also asked for government’s response on plea for framing privacy policy for social media networks like Facebook and WhatsApp. Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are now a part of daily lives and hence under the Indian constitution falls under public utility service. It is important know  if these platforms in anyway harm one’s privacy preferences.

Harish Salve, senior advocate alleged that these social networking sites are an infringement of Articles 19 (Freedom of Speech and Expression) and 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution. Right to Life includes the Right to Privacy.

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Last year after a PIL was filed for banning of Whatsapp, Chief Justice G Rohini and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, J directed Whatsapp Inc to delete any user data collected by the messaging company prior to September 25 2016. Under a new policy Whatsapp’s parent company, Facebook, was allowed to access any data from Whatsapp users. Two students had filed a PIL challenging the recent change in Whatsapp’s user policies. The High Court settled the case and Whatsapp was directed to delete all the information stored on their servers till September 25 2016. This was done for all the users irrespective of the fact if the user has accepted the new privacy policy of Whatsapp or not.

In another PIL, a petitioner sought ban on WhatsApp and other such apps citing security concerns. According to the petitioner, the petition not only concerns WhatsApp but bundles every messaging platform i.e. Hike, Viber, Secure chat and so on. These services can be used by terrorists and criminals to communicate on WhatsApp. These information are impossible to access even by supercomputers as decrypting a single 256-bit encrypted message would take hundreds of years.

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