WhatsApp Case: SC Issues Notices To Centre, Trai & Facebook


New Delhi: Supreme Court has issued notices to Centre government, telecom regulator Trai and social networking giant Facebook in WhatsApp privacy case. The country’s apex court has sought reply in two weeks.

The petitioner Karmanya Singh’s counsel through Harish Salve said that the non-protection of data on Facebook and WhatsApp violated users’ privacy.

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Supreme Court also sought assistance of attorney general Mukul Rohatgi in the case. The top court is said to have agreed to hear the case after initial reluctance on the ground that both Facebook and WhatsApp are free services and there is no kind of compulsion for users to join them.

In September last year, the Delhi High Court told WhatsApp to scrub all data belonging to those who delete the messaging app from their devices. The judges asked WhatsApp to completely delete information of users who do not want to remain on it and not share any information with Facebook after the account is deleted. It also said the service shouldn’t share information of existing WhatsApp users with Facebook until September 25.

Petitioners Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi filed the case after WhatsApp updated its privacy policy on August 25 for the first time after it was acquired by Facebook in 2014.

The Delhi HC had also asked the government and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to decide whether such messaging platforms should be regulated, adding another dimension to the ongoing debate on this subject. The case stems from changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy that will see it sharing user data with parent Facebook.