WhatsApp privacy policy not conforming to Indian IT laws: Centre informs Delhi High Court

By: |
May 17, 2021 8:22 PM

WhatsApp told the bench that while its new privacy policy has come into effect from May 15, it would not start deleting accounts of those users who have not accepted it and would try to encourage them to get on board.

The fake message started making rounds on June 1.

The Centre on Monday told the Delhi High Court that it views the new privacy policy of WhatsApp as a violation of the Indian Information Technology (IT) law and rules, and sought directions to the social media platform to make it clear whether it was confirming to the same.

The central government’s claim was made before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh during hearing of several pleas challenging WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, which according to the platform has come into effect from May 15 and has not been deferred.

WhatsApp told the bench that while its new privacy policy has come into effect from May 15, it would not start deleting accounts of those users who have not accepted it and would try to encourage them to get on board.

The platform said there was no universal or uniform time limit after which it will start to delete accounts as each user would be dealt with it on case-to-case basis.

The bench issued notice to the Centre, Facebook and WhatsApp and sought their stand on one of the pleas by a lawyer who has claimed that the new policy violates users’ right to privacy under the Constitution.

During the hearing, the Centre said that according to it the policy was in violation of Indian IT laws and rules.

It said it has written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the issue and a reply is awaited and therefore, there was a need to maintain status quo with regard to implementation of the policy.

WhatsApp, opposing the contention, said it was conforming to Indian IT law and rules and added that its policy has come into effect from May 15, but it won’t be deleting accounts right away.

When the matter was initially listed before a single judge, the Centre had said that WhatsApp was treating Indian users differently from Europeans over opting out of its new privacy policy which was a matter of concern for the government and it was looking into the issue.

It had also said it was also a matter of concern that Indian users were being “unilaterally” subjected to the change in privacy policy by the instant messaging platform and that the government was looking into it.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on June 3.

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