Centre to HC: Restrain WhatsApp from implementing privacy policy

New Delhi: The central government on Friday urged the Delhi High Court to restrain WhatsApp from implementing its new privacy policy.

“It is humbly prayed that the Respondent No. 2 [WhatsApp] may be restrained from implementing its new privacy policy and terms of service dated 04.01.2021 from 08.02.2021 or any subsequent date pending adjudication by this Hon’ble Court,” the government stated in an affidavit.

On February 2, the court had sought the Central Government’s response on a petition challenging the new privacy policy of social networking platform WhatsApp.

Notably, WhatsApp has asked users to either give their consent to sharing data with Facebook or lose their accounts after February 8. The policy was, however, put on hold till May 15 due to a massive backlash by the users.

The petitioners, Dr. Seema Singh, through Advocate Meghan Singh, argued that the impact of the WhatsApp policy can cause a catastrophe with respect to the data of the citizens.

The plea submitted that the fissures in law with respect to data are quite conspicuous and a framework to regulate the same is the need of the hour.

It has sought a direction from the court to the Central Government to frame rules, guidelines, regulations to protect privacy and data of the citizens from all the apps and organisations operating in India.

The High Court has also been urged to direct the Centre to tell WhatsApp to either roll back their policy or provide an option to opt out of the January 4, 2021 privacy policy and also to provide users who have accepted the privacy policy to be given another option to choose for themselves.

Besides this, the petitioner prayed for the right to seek confirmation, access and rectification, the right to objection, restriction and portability of the data and the right to be forgotten as being part of Article 21 and intrinsic to the right to privacy.

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