New Privacy Policy Put On Hold, WhatsApp Tells Delhi High Court

WhatsApp's new privacy policy has come under fire for allegedly flouting the Centre's new IT Rules 2021

WhatsApp on Friday told Delhi High Court that it has put its new privacy policy on hold till the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 comes into force. The functionality of the social messaging app would not be limited to those users who have not opted for the new privacy policy.

"Government has asked to shut down the policy. We have said we will not enforce it till Data Protection Bill comes out," senior advocate Harish Salve told the high court. "That (enforcement of policy) is open-ended because we don't know when the DP Bill is going to come out...We have said we will not do this for a while. Suppose the Bill allows me to do it, we will have completely different ramifications," Salve said.

WhatsApp's submission is a u-turn from its previous position on May 10 when it said that users who do not consent to the messaging app's policy update will slowly lose functionality of the app.

"We are still trying to persuade consumers but if they don't accept slowly, these accounts will be deleted," senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was representing WhatsApp at the time, had told the high court on May 17.

The high court was hearing WhatsApp's plea challenging the Competition Commission of India's (CCI) ongoing probe into WhatsApp's privacy policy which was rolled out in February.

WhatsApp's privacy policy has come under intense fire. In a different plea with similar grounds, the Centre told Delhi High Court that the social messaging app's new policy violates the law on five counts.

Will either roll-back or shut shop: WhatsApp to HC

In the present plea, Salve told the high court that if the Parliament did not permit the new policy, WhatsApp would either roll it back or shut shop in India.

"The commitment is that I will not do anything till the parliamentary law comes. Obviously then if parliamentary law comes, you must fit within that law. If Parliament allows me to have a separate policy for India, I will have it. If it does not allow me, then bad luck. I will then have to take a call," Salve told the bench led by Chief Justice DN Patel.

The competition regulator came to the prima facie conclusion that WhatsApp's new privacy policy of "sharing of users' personalised data with other Facebook companies, in a manner that is neither fully transparent nor based on voluntary and specific user consent" appears unfair to users. WhatsApp and Facebook (it owns WhatsApp) challenged CCI's March 24 order probing the new policy on the grounds that similar pleas related to the privacy policy were already pending before the Supreme Court and the high court.

Also Read: WhatsApp's Privacy Policy: SC Issues Notice To Facebook, Centre

Also Read: WhatsApp Delays New Privacy Policy To May 2021 After Backlash

Also Read: WhatsApp Violates Law On 5 Counts, Stay New Privacy Policy: Centre to HC

Updated On: 2021-07-09T15:37:57+05:30
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