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Delhi HC Seeks Centre’s Response In Yet Another PIL Against WhatsApp Privacy Policy

Delhi HC Seeks Centre’s Response In Yet Another PIL Against WhatsApp Privacy Policy

The petition had asked the court to direct the government to force WhatsApp to change its privacy policy

The court was also told to direct the centre to create social media intermediary guidelines to regulate apps

Earlier, the high court had said that downloading the app and accepting WhatsApp’s privacy policy is a voluntary choice

Responding to another public interest litigation challenge against WhatsApp’s privacy policy, which will go into effect from May 15, 2021, the Delhi high court has sought responses from the central government. The matter will be heard by the Delhi HC next on March 19, 2021.

In the law suit ‘Dr Seema Singh v. Union Of India’, the plaintiff has prayed the court to direct the central government to force WhatsApp to either roll back its new privacy policy or give users an opt-out option. The Delhi HC Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh has sought a response from the both the central government as well as Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

Besides claiming that WhatsApp’s policy violates the right to privacy enshrined in the Indian constitution, the petition also prayed for a formulation of social media intermediary guidelines and added that WhatsApp is treating non-Indian users differently.

Multiple Legal Battles Against WhatsApp In Delhi HC

Last week, the HC had adjourned the hearing for another petition challenging the messaging app’s new privacy policy update till March 1, 2021. The court had earlier stated that WhatsApp is a private entity and users can choose to not use the app.

Advocate Manohar Lal, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, advocate Chaitanya Rohilla, maintained that WhatsApp’s new privacy policy was a serious threat to India’s security and democracy, claiming that the company was sharing India users’ data globally. However, the court said that downloading the application and being subjected to WhatsApp’s privacy policy was voluntary.

“If you don’t want to, you can choose not to. It is not mandatory for you to download. Every other application has similar terms and conditions. How does this application prejudice you?” the court had asked. 

At the time, the court was informed by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma, who was representing the government, that IT ministry had expressed concerns about WhatsApp’s policy and was engaging with the company. The court had adjourned the hearing on the basis of the government’s involvement.