Challenge WhatsApp privacy policy in Delhi HC, SC to CAIT

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a plea by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) seeking direction to WhatsApp to roll back its new privacy policy which can impact the country’s security.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde said the Delhi High Court is already seized of the matter.

The traders’ association had filed the plea seeking direction to the Centre to frame guidelines to govern large technology-based companies such as WhatsApp Inc, Facebook Inc. and Facebook India Online Services Pvt Ltd.

After a brief hearing in the matter, senior advocate Vivek Sood, representing CAIT, prayed for withdrawal of this petition with liberty to approach the Delhi High Court.

The top court, in its order, said: “Prayer is allowed. Accordingly, the writ petition is dismissed as withdrawn with the liberty aforesaid.”

The plea, filed through advocate Vivek Narayan Sharma, said on January 4, WhatsApp introduced its new privacy policy through which it scrapped its “opt-out policy” and from now on, users will have to compulsorily consent to share their data with Facebook and its group companies for using the platform.

The plea cited the alleged failure of the Centre in carrying out its constitutional duty and responsibility to protect the rights to privacy and freedom of speech and expression.

“Respondent no.1 — Union of India — has granted permission to respondent nos 2 to 4 to run the WhatsApp application in India, but has failed to play the role of a guardian to protect the fundamental rights of citizens in as much as WhatsApp, which is rendering essential public services by enabling citizens to communicate, has recently imposed unconstitutional privacy conditions which are not only violative of the law but can impact the national security of the country,” the plea had claimed.

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