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WhatsApp users move HC over privacy concerns

  • Challenging the proposed changes in the Privacy policy of the WhatsApp, the Delhi High Court has issued notice to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on a Public Interest Litigation filed by two students.

    The Petitioners contended that WhatsApp has sought to suddenly change its Privacy Policy proposing to make drastic changes and severely compromises with the rights of the users of Whatsapp service. It has sought to alter the most valuable, basic and essential feature of this internet based messaging service, by threatening to take away the protection to privacy of details and data of its Users and sharing the same with Facebook and all its group companies including for the purpose of commercial advertising and marketing.

    They submitted that a façade is being created as the consent is being taken from the Users before the alteration / change of the essential and basic feature of this service – is carried out. This façade collapses on its own weight in as much as this basic and essential feature of non-sharing of data / details of Users, in any manner whatsoever, cannot at all be changed. Further, the manner in which consent is sought to be taken is highly deceptive in as much as almost the entire community of Users of Whatsapp in India are not equipped to even read, much less comprehend, the consequences of the terms and conditions on the basis whereupon, WhatsApp is pretending to obtain consent of the Users.
    According to the Petitioners, the new Privacy Policy is in stark contrast to the Privacy Policy existing from 7th July 2012. This policy severely compromises the rights of its users and makes the Privacy rights of users completely vulnerable.

    In June 2016, Supreme Court has refused to entertain a PIL seeking a ban on instant messaging application Whatsapp and asked petitioner and RTI activist Sudhir Yadav to approach the Department of Telecom, Information Technology ministry or TDSAT with his grievances.

     

    OUR TAKE

    The concerns over WhatsApp’s privacy policy has been growing ever since they sought to alter their features and improve its friend suggestions algorithm plan. WhatsApp’s privacy policy tab in each and every phones and other gadgets has clearly mentioned what are the information they collect from us once we start using their app. It carries a long list from our Account Information, Messages, Connections, Transactional Information, Status Information to our Device and Connection Information and so on.

    Taking away the protection to privacy of details and data will severely compromise the privacy and security rights of it’s individual. They should tread carefully before making any drastic changes. 


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