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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Privacy policy: Delhi HC extends time given to FB, WhatsApp to file replies

A single bench of the HC had on April 22 dismissed the petitions by WhatsApp and Facebook, which have been arguing that the issue related to the privacy policy is already pending before the Supreme Court and High Court.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
July 31, 2021 2:38:40 am
The companies approached the division bench in appeal against the single-bench decision and the CCI order.

The Delhi High Court on Friday extended the time granted to Facebook and WhatsApp by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for filing replies to a notice issued to them in connection with its ongoing probe into the messaging application’s privacy policy.

The division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, while adjourning the Facebook and WhatsApp appeals against a single-bench order declining to interfere with the CCI investigation, said the time to file reply to the notices dated June 4 and June 8 issued by CCI to WhatsApp and Facebook, respectively, is extended to August 27.

The matter was adjourned as CCI made a request for it due to unavailability of Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi. Senior Advocate Harish Salve, representing WhatsApp, told the court that CCI was insisting on filing a reply by August 5. If they are agreeable to extending the time, the matter can be adjourned, Salve added. WhatsApp had on July 9 told the court that it will not be limiting the functionality of its messaging app in case a user does not consent to its latest privacy policy and will maintain the approach at least till the forthcoming data protection Bill comes into effect. The company also said it will not compel users in India to accept the policy.

CCI, the competition regulator, had on March 24 come to a prima facie conclusion that the conduct of WhatsApp in “sharing of users’ personalised data with other Facebook companies, in a manner that is neither fully transparent nor based on voluntary and specific user consent” appears unfair to the users.

A single bench of the HC had on April 22 dismissed the petitions by WhatsApp and Facebook, which have been arguing that the issue related to the privacy policy is already pending before the Supreme Court and High Court. The companies approached the division bench in appeal against the single-bench decision and the CCI order.

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