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It’s Our Duty To Protect People’s Privacy: Supreme Court To WhatsApp

Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to Facebook and WhatsApp on a plea challenging WhatsApp’s latest privacy policy which was introduced in January this year in India

The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, held that people’s privacy should be protected in the wake of allegations that users’ data was shared with other companies.

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The Supreme Court said, “There is a concern that the circuit of messages has been revealed by WhatsApp.” The bench further noted that citizens “are very apprehensive about the loss of their privacy” and they think that their data and chats being shared with others and it has to be looked into.

“You (WhatsApp and Facebook) are people of two or three trillion companies, but people value their privacy more than money,” the bench told incoming councils for Facebook and WhatsApp.

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The CJI further told the companies’ consuls, “We are telling you what we have heard and read. People think that if A, B and B send messages to C, then Facebook knows the circuit of messages.”

The apex court was hearing an application filed by the Internet Freedom Foundation to challenge WhatsApp’s latest privacy policy, which was tabled in India in January.

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The petitioner sought guidelines to protect the personal data and privacy of over 400 million Indian WhatsApp users. It has called for an interim stay on the operation of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.

The plea states that WhatsApp’s 2021 policy is “highly offensive and unilaterally forced on Indian Internet users”.

It has urged the court to pass an interim order, issuing notice to Facebook by WhatsApp 2/15/2021 banning sharing of any personal data of users, the privacy policy with Facebook for WhatsApp marketing Seeking feedback on challenging changes in other objectives.

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The intervention application was filed in 2017 in an appeal filed by Karmanya Singh Sarin and Shreya Sethi, which challenged WhatsApp’s 2016 privacy policy. The constitution bench of the Supreme Court is hearing this case. It requested the court to direct WhatsApp to provide “the same standard of privacy protection” to its Indian users as it is providing to users in European countries.

In January, WhatsApp introduced its privacy policy for its users to accept its terms and conditions, failing that accounts and services would be terminated after February 08, 2021, for the user concerned.

After facing criticism over the privacy policy, WhatsApp clarified on micro-blogging site Twitter that “no one has suspended or deleted their account on February 8 and we will withdraw our business plans until after May.”

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