PIL in SC seeks safety of residents’ proper to privateness from WhatsApp, Fb

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 16

Amid demands for rollback of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court on Saturday seeking protection of citizens’ right to privacy from WhatsApp and Facebook which now owns the instant messaging service.

Petitioner Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) sought a direction to the Government to restrain WhatsApp and Facebook from storing and utilising the works transmitted through the messaging service for any purpose.

CAIT also urged the top court to direct the two companies to allow the Centre to carry out ‘Technical Audits’ of their data centres, where the data of Indian users are stored, so as to retrieve and delete such data of Indian Users.

The petitioner demanded that WhatsApp should be directed to roll back its controversial privacy policy and frame guidelines to govern its data sharing with Facebook. Due to this updated policy, the users will now have to compulsorily share all the information that WhatsApp collects, which includes information about the user’s activity on their services, like service-related, diagnostic, and performance information, it pointed out.

WhatsApp has already announced delaying by three months the implementation of its new privacy policy that has caused concerns among millions of its users, many of whom started to move to its rivals such as Signal and Telegram. It was originally scheduled to come into effect on February 8.

The petitioner accused the Centre of failing to discharge its constitutional duty of protecting the privacy rights of citizens. Citizen’s personal data is being collected by a foreign entity and is being transferred outside the country, it alleged.

“Centre failed to impose necessary and restrictive conditions in the instant case, though on the proposed policy of WhatsApp, European Union’s Antitrust Authority had imposed serious restrictions and fines of 110 million euros in 2017,” read the CAIT petition.

In 20 16, Germany, the UK and the entire European Union had prohibited similar action of Facebook which was also asked to delete all the data relating to Whatsapp users, it said.

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