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WhatsApp Says No One Forced Anyone To Use Their Services; Govt Admits They Cannot Control OTTs!

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Delhi HC Finds Fault In WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy; Asks TRAI, DoT To Respond!

The ongoing tussle between WhatsApp and their users regarding the privacy policy took an interesting turn yesterday, during a hearing at Delhi High Court.

Taking a hard stand, which may not give positive vibes, WhatsApp has said that no one has forced anyone to use their services, and they are free to opt out if their privacy policies are not acceptable.

This clearly showcases that WhatsApp is planning to go ahead and implement the new privacy policy effective September 25th, which will give them the right and power to share user’s private information with advertisers – whether you like it or not.

Senior counsel Siddharth Luthra, who is representing Whatsapp, said, “Nobody has forced anyone (users) to join. If one is not happy (with the terms and conditions of the service), then opt out”

The ongoing legal case is a result of a petition by two youths who went to court against WhatsApp’s new privacy policy which violates user’s privacy. The manner in which user’s consent was being taken is also questioned in the legal case.

Delhi HC found fault in the WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, and had asked TRAI and DoT to respond.

Earlier, we had reported a confirmation by a WhatsApp employee, that no matter consent is provided or not, details related to users would be anyways shared with 3rd parties. The only consent which users provide is regarding sharing of data with Facebook, which is really insignificant if the data is anyways shared with other advertisers.

Messages Content Won’t Be Shared With Facebook

However, giving an assurance to its users (who are still with WhatsApp, afterall), Sidhartha Luthra said that message content will not be shared with Facebook.

Infact, he informed the court that due to its encryption policy, WhatsApp doesn’t record or store any messages, hence they cannot share it with any party.

Earlier, Senior Advocate Pratibha Singh, representing the youths who filed the petition against WhatsApp said, “The policy says that sharing can be restricted (by users) only for Facebook advertisements and experiences, for all other purposes the data may be shared”

Govt. Admits That They Cannot Control OTTs

Meanwhile, during the arguments presented before the court by the petitioner and Govt. counsels, it was admitted by both the parties that under current legal framework, it was not possible for the Govt. to control or regulate OTTs such as WhatsApp.

Hence, it is futile for the Govt. to make arguments either defending or opposing WhatsApp’s new privacy policy pertaining to user’s data.

The petition has even requested the Court to frame guidelines for protecting users’ data and private information; and to make necessary amendments in the Information Technology Act 2000 for the same.

We will keep you updated as more details come in regarding this case.

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