WhatsApp’s privacy policy challenged in Delhi High Court

New Delhi: WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy, which comes into effect on February 8, has been challenged in the Delhi High Court, on the grounds that it violates the Right to Privacy and threatens national security.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy states that the company may share user information with its family of companies to “facilitate, support and integrate their activities and improve our services.” It maintains that calls and texts remain end-to-end encrypted.

But the information that WhatsApp automatically collects from users will now be shared with Facebook, including phone number and other information you provide WhatsApp while making an account. Additionally, information that is shared will include how often the consumer uses the service, what features are used, profile picture, states, device information, mobile network, IP address, location services and more.

Livelaw reported that Advocate Chaitanya Rohilla’s plea in the court said that the “level of insight into a person’s private and personal activities is done without any government oversight at present or regulatory supervision”.

As per the report, the advocate has asked for an injunction restraining WhatsApp from enforcing the policy. The plea also asks to restrain WhatsApp from sharing its information with any third party or Facebook for any purpose.

The plea says that if WhatsApp is going to share user data with Facebook, “which is embedded on every second website and collect data from there as well”, then the data being integrated would mean that the user “is perpetually under the surveillance of the Facebook group of companies.”

As per the report, the plea calls the sharing of information itself illegal, because WhatsApp can only share information for purposes that are “reasonably linked” to what the information was provided for.

“A user who has signed up to WhatsApp because they want to communicate. Users’ provide their data to WhatsApp for this, whereas WhatsApp is using this data and sharing it with third-party services and Facebook to run their own businesses. It emphatically implies that the purpose that WhatsApp is using the information for is not reasonably connected to the purpose for which the user is giving that information to WhatsApp,” the plea states.

The plea states that the app has become an important mode of communication among Indians, and is also used to aide governmental functions, to stress that it discharges a public function even while being a private entity.

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