Technology Other News 30 Sep 2016 Will comply with Del ...

Will comply with Delhi High Court ruling: WhatsApp eases privacy woes

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | FRANCIS D'SA
Published Sep 30, 2016, 9:16 am IST
Updated Sep 30, 2016, 9:29 am IST
On September 23, the Delhi High Court slammed WhatsApp for sharing user data with Facebook.
Facebook said that the data will be used for their internal analysis and will help the company improve their services ahead and also help in targeting advertisements to users on Facebook.
 Facebook said that the data will be used for their internal analysis and will help the company improve their services ahead and also help in targeting advertisements to users on Facebook.

In an official statement to Deccan Chronicle, WhatsApp said that they will comply with the orders issued by the Delhi High Court on September 23. The Delhi High Court ruled in favour of the PIL filed by two Indian students which opposed to Facebook and WhatsApp’s decision on sharing users’ data with their entire platform. The court directed WhatsApp to stop sharing users’ data collected up to September 25 with its parent company Facebook Inc.

Also read: WhatsApp twist: High Court allows new privacy policy enforcement

 

On September 23, a division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal asked WhatsApp not to share users’ data collected over the year up to September 25, with Facebook or any other company. Facebook-owned WhatsApp had changed their privacy policy on August 25 which stated that the messaging platform will be sharing their users’ data with the parent company Facebook Inc and all other companies below Facebook.

This data will be used for their internal analysis and will help the company improve their services ahead and also help in targeting advertisements to users on Facebook. Users had a 30-day time frame to decide if they want WhatsApp to allow their data to be shared across and September 25 was the last date for users to opt in or out.

 

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, on behalf of WhatsApp, said that the messaging service, under its new privacy policy, will only share the user’s name and phone numbers from his contact book with Facebook and its companies.

Also read: WhatsApp removes option for sharing information with Facebook

“WhatsApp does not have access to any data as it provides end-to-end encryption. We only have access to the person's name and number which is also obtained by online consent. We are abiding by the central government's regulations for messenger apps. We are not dealing with sensitive information at all,” Luthra said.

 

Senior advocate Pratibha M Singh, who represented the two Indian students (petitioners) Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, argued that WhatsApp is sharing the entire data with Facebook even if users opt out of the new policy.

The bench slammed WhatsApp to remove all user data collected before September 25, and of those who deleted their accounts before the platform’s new privacy policy that took effect from September 25. The High Court had also directed the TRAI to take the matter into priority and consider bringing WhatsApp and similar OTT-based services under regulation.

 

However, there was no action confirmed from WhatsApp or Facebook after the HC ruling.

In Germany, the government had too ruled against the data sharing move by WhatsApp, and Facebook did not comply with the decision. Facebook has now planned to appeal against the said ruling in Germany, reported Reuters.

While many reports claim that Facebook could appeal to the higher court in India too, it was believed that WhatsApp would continue to share the data with Facebook. We reached out to WhatsApp to find out if they were following the Delhi High Court’s ruling and they replied in positive.

 

“WhatsApp will comply with the order from the Delhi High Court. We plan to proceed with the privacy policy and terms update in accordance with the Court’s order. The court’s emphasis on the importance of user choice and consent is encouraging,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement to Deccan Chronicle via email.

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