Top News:

Facebook challenged by two Indian students over WhatsApp privacy policy

Two Indian students have legally challenged Facebook stating that sharing WhatsApp numbers of users with advertising companies for 'relevant' advertisements threatens the right of millions of users.

By: | Updated: September 21, 2016 6:00 PM
They asked the court to order the government to frame guidelines for messaging apps so that user privacy isn’t compromised. They asked the court to order the government to frame guidelines for messaging apps so that user privacy isn’t compromised.

Two Indian students have legally challenged Facebook stating that sharing WhatsApp numbers of users with advertising companies for ‘relevant’ advertisements threatens the right of millions of users. According to Bloomberg, Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi filed a public-interest litigation (PIL), akin to a class action, in the Delhi High Court asking for a rollback of recent policy updates by WhatsApp. They asked the court to order the government to frame guidelines for messaging apps so that user privacy isn’t compromised.

WhatsApp messages are encrypted by default. However, the messaging app which has been bought by Facebook Inc. in 2014, recently said that it will start sharing users’ phone numbers with its parent-company, allowing for more relevant advertisements and friend recommendations on the social network. Singh, a 19-year-old engineering student, and Sethi, 22, said in their petition that the “changes compromise the security, safety and privacy of data that belongs to users.” They said the term “user consent” is meaningless in India as most users aren’t equipped to read or comprehend the consequences of the privacy policy changes. WhatsApp attracted a substantial user base through its assurance of complete privacy and its recent changes were a breach of users’ trust, they said.

A lot is at stake for Facebook in India, where it has close to 150 million users, its biggest base outside the US. Research firm eMarketer said India would soon have the world’s largest Facebook population. WhatsApp has over 70 million users in India, according to a SimilarWeb report in May.

Please Wait while comments are loading...

Go to Top