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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Supreme Court seeks tech giants’ reply on plea over UPI data sharing

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde also issued notice to the Centre on the petition filed by CPI Rajya Sabha member Binoy Viswam.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 2, 2021 2:19:30 am
The plea also sought direction to RBI and NPCI to ensure WhatsApp is not permitted to launch the full scale operations of WhatsApp Pay in India without complying with all regulatory norms. (File)

The Supreme Court Monday asked Facebook, WhatsApp India, Amazon Pay and Google Pay to reply to a plea seeking direction to Reserve Bank of India and National Payments Corp. of India to ensure that data collected on Unified Payments Interface platforms is not shared with their parent company or any other third party.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde also issued notice to the Centre on the petition filed by CPI Rajya Sabha member Binoy Viswam.

Viswam contended that the RBI and NPCI have permitted the parties “to participate in the UPI ecosystem without much scrutiny and in spite of blatant violations of UPI guidelines and RBI Regulations”. He said this had put that the sensitive financial data of Indian users at huge risk.

The court asked the parties to file their replies in four weeks. In its affidavit, the RBI put the onus of ensuring that entities stick to UPI rules on NPCI. “Since it was NPCI that allowed Amazon, Google and WhatsApp to operate under UPI, the responsibility to ensure that these entities to comply with all the Rules/Regulations/Guidelines governing UPI lies with NPCI,” the apex bank said in its affidavit.

The plea also sought direction to RBI and NPCI to ensure WhatsApp is not permitted to launch the full scale operations of WhatsApp Pay in India without complying with all regulatory norms.

Senior Advocate Krishnan Venugopal, appearing for Viswam, cited the alleged breach of WhatsApp encryption using Pegasus software to argue against allowing its e-payment system in the country.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for WhatsApp, told the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramsubramanian, that WhatsApp Pay has received all necessary permissions.

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