WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy challenged in Delhi High Court 

The petitioner said that the changed policy violates the Right to Privacy of the citizens of India, which is a fundamental right guaranteed in the Part-III of the Constitution of India.

Avatar Written by January 14, 2021 19:58
WhatsApp's updated privacy policy challenged in Delhi High Court 

New Delhi: Stressing that messaging app WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy violates Right to Privacy, an advocate has moved the Delhi High Court seeking direction for an injunction against the new policy by WhatsApp with immediate effect.

The plea was filed by advocate Chaitanya Rohilla who stated that WhatsApp changed its Privacy Policy in “most arbitrary manner” and had made it compulsory for its users to accept its terms and conditions, failing which the accounts and services would be terminated after February 8, 2021 for the respective user.

The petitioner said that the changed policy violates the Right to Privacy of the citizens of India, which is a fundamental right guaranteed in the Part-III of the Constitution of India.

He sought to direct the Centre to lay down guidelines in the exercise of its powers under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act and under the Constitution of India to ensure that Respondent Whatsapp does not share any data of its users with any third party or Facebook and its companies for any purpose whatsoever.

The petitioner has also sought to issue a writ of mandamus for Injunction against the updated Privacy Policy by Whatsapp with immediate effect and to issue guidelines or directions to ensure that any change in Privacy Policy by whatsapp carried out strictly in accordance with the Fundamental Rights guaranteed in Part-III of the Constitution till such time as rules/guidelines are framed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Highlighting that WhatsApp has become an important mode of communication amongst the citizens of India and is also being used to aide multiple Governmental functions as well, the petitioner also pointed out Supreme Court has allowed the service of summons via electronic mode including WhatsApp.

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“This substantiates to the fact that WhatsApp is discharging a Public Function despite being a private entity. In the prevalent Covid-19 pandemic times, Confidential proceedings such as that of the mediations is being conducted by WhatsApp. For instance, the District Legal Services Authority, Mediation and Concilliation Centre, Gurugram, uses WhatsApp to conduct mediation proceedings (Video Conference) through WhatsApp,” the petition said.

“Over the years, WhatsApp use has become indispensable in the day to day affairs of citizens and also in Government and Judicial functionaries. At the outset, WhatsApp cannot be allowed to go berserk at its whims and fancy,” the petition said.

According to the petition, WhatsApp is an instant messaging service provider Application and more than 2 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with work, friends, and family, anytime and anywhere.

“As per its website, With WhatsApp, you will get fast, simple, secure messaging and calling for free available on phones all over the world. WhatsApp is free, it uses internet connection via WiFi or Data connection, and offers to message and calling, available on phones all over the world. WhatsApp is an effective alternative to SMS and has grown its root deep into the society and their product supports sending and receiving a variety of media: text, photos, videos, documents, and location, as well as voice calls,” petition said.

The petition said that Facebook Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service based in Menlo Park, California, and a flagship service of the company Facebook Inc.