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Friday, February 26, 2021

Delhi High Court notice to govt, WhatsApp over privacy issue

The division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan asked the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and WhatsApp to file their response to the petition by March 19.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 4, 2021 3:31:37 am
The PIL also sought a stay on WhatsApp’s new privacy policy and an option to opt out of sharing of personal data with Facebook.

THE DELHI High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Centre and WhatsApp in connection with a petition seeking framing of guidelines to protect privacy and data of users being collected by various social media sites and messaging applications. The PIL also sought a stay on WhatsApp’s new privacy policy and an option to opt out of sharing of personal data with Facebook.

The division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan asked the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and WhatsApp to file their response to the petition by March 19.

Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma earlier told the court that Joint Parliamentary Committee is deliberating on the issue of data protection and the Personal Data Protection Bill is pending before it. Sharma also told the court that WhatsApp on January 25 responded to the government’s queries regarding its new privacy policy and the same is under consideration.

In the petition filed by a Noida resident, Dr Seema Singh, along with Delhi residents Meghan and Vikram Singh, it has been argued that the fissures in law with regard to the data are “quite conspicuous” and a framework to regulate the same is the needed. “Social media in recent years has been used by billions of people around the world, millions of Indians today are dependent on WhatsApp. Therefore information which is generally personal is shared at an enormous level. This information is susceptible to being misused if the social media giant decides to either sell or exploit the information, sensitive to the users, to any third party,” the petition says.

Another petition challenging WhatsApp’s privacy policy is also pending before a single bench of the High Court but no notice has been issued yet in that case to the government or WhatsApp. Last month, the single-judge bench deferred the hearing in that matter to March 1 after it was told that the government has sought a response from WhatsApp. The Facebook-owned messaging application, owing to the outcry against its new privacy policy, has deferred its implementation till May 15.

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