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Privacy row: Delhi HC seeks Centre, WhatsApp response on another plea

Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response from the Centre and WhatsApp over a petition seeking court's directions

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response from the Centre and WhatsApp over a petition seeking court’s directions for providing an option to the people to have an option to opt-out of sharing their personal data with Facebook, which is mandated by the new policy of WhatsApp.

A division bench of the High Court of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeIT) and WhatsApp Inc. and slated the matter for further hearing on March 19.

The plea states that the new WhatsApp privacy policy of January 2021 is violative of Article 21 which enshrines the Right to privacy.

“The fundamental shift in the policy of WhatsApp from its previous policy which was rolled out on 20th July 2020, is that it provided the users of the platform with a choice of sharing WhatsApp account information, however, the new policy does not even provide the users to have an option to protect their personal data by opting out of their policy,”

-the plea said. 

The plea also alleged that the new policy further mandated that the person either accepts the new policy in operation or will lose access to WhatsApp by February 8, 2021. 

The plea also argued that privacy has been held to be an intrinsic element of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21. 
“With the advent of technology our lives have become more and more public, and the world has become a global village. With the increased use of technology, it becomes a bounden duty of the court to not only recognize our constitutional principles but also to safeguard the citizen from violation of their rights,” the plea read. 

Also Read: Supreme Court dismisses petition against BJP’s Sambit Patra, ABP News

“Social media in recent years has been used by billions of people around the world, millions of Indians today are dependent on Whatsapp. Therefore, information which is generally personal is shared at an enormous level. This information is susceptible to being misused if the social media giant decides to either sell or exploit the information, sensitive to the users, to any third party,”

-it added.

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