WhatsApp does not have access to user data: Delhi High Court told

WhatsApp's lawyers told the Delhi court that users who don’t wish to share info with Facebook could 'opt out.'

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Updated: September 15, 2016 8:25 am
 WhatsApp, WhatsApp user data, WhatsApp user information, WhatsApp Delhi High Court case, WhatsApp Privacy case, WhatsApp Facebook data sharing WhatsApp doesn’t have access to a user’s data, company tells Delhi High Court.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed instant messaging service WhatsApp to file an affidavit addressing the privacy and copyright concerns raised by a PIL against the proposed new policy of sharing data with Facebook.

The bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal directed WhatsApp to file an affidavit after its counsel, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, claimed that WhatsApp servers “did not retain any data except the username and phone number of the users.”

“There is no question of messages, photographs or documents getting shared with Facebook. We have no access to the content,” Luthra told the court. The lawyer, however, added that the name and phone number of the users, and the information regarding other users with whom they are in contact, would be shared with Facebook after September 25

Senior advocate Pratibha Singh, who was representing petitioners Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, however, argued that the new privacy policy issued by WhatsApp clearly stated that if a user chose to opt out of the sharing of information for Facebook ads and products, the information shared via WhatsApp could “still be used for other purposes”. The lawyer also raised concerns regarding copyright violations, arguing that according to the Facebook privacy policy, all content shared via the site could be used or reproduced by Facebook to “create derivative works.”

Also read: WhatsApp’s privacy policy is bigger than just sharing info with Facebook

Luthra, however, argued that any person who did not wish to allow information sharing with Facebook, could “opt out of using Whatsapp”. “You joined WhatsApp voluntarily, you can opt out voluntarily,” said Luthra.

Meanwhile, the counsel appearing for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India also told the court that TRAI did not have the jurisdiction to regulate the privacy policy of a private company.