Delhi HC to Restrain WhatsApp from Implementing New Privacy Policy

The Centre urged the Delhi High Court on Friday to restrain WhatsApp from implementing its new privacy policy as a PIL, seeking a stay on the issue, is pending before the court. The Public Interest Litigation also seeks framing of guidelines to protect the privacy and data of users being collected by various social media sites and messaging apps.

The impugned privacy policy violates the 2011 IT Rules, the government said in a written reply to the court. It added that the privacy policy fails to specify the types of sensitive data being collected, provides an option to review or amend the information or to withdraw consent retrospectively, and guarantees further non-disclosure by third parties.
The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, in its reply, also told the court that the Centre has introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha and upon its enactment, the law “will limit the ability of entities such as WhatsApp issuing privacy policies which do not align with appropriate standards of security and data protection”.

“Pending the passage of this Bill, the Information Technology Act, 2000, and the Rules made thereunder form the extant regime on data protection, any privacy policy issued by a body corporate such as Respondent No. 2 must comply with the requirements specified in the Act and the accompanying Rules,” the Centre wrote. In the petition filed by 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 need of the hour.

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