Delhi HC Cannot Stop WhatsApp from Enforcing New Privacy Policy; But Data Collected Before Sept 25 Needs To Be Removed


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

Once again, corporatization of data, business of information and a multi-billion dollar company has won, defeating users’ privacy choices. Promises have been conveniently and legally broken, and there is no going back from now on.

Delhi High Court has failed to prevent WhatsApp from implementing their new privacy policy, based on which vital information related to the users would be now shared with Facebook. The only silver lining is the fact that Delhi HC has ordered WhatsApp to remove any data collected before September 25th; and delete any data collected from those accounts which have uninstalled WhatsApp.

This verdict was given for a petition filed against WhatsApp’s new privacy policy related with user’s data and it’s marketing usage.

But such faint show of legal enforcement is nothing compared to what WhatsApp will enforce, achieve and acquire after September 25th.

As if acknowledging the limitation which Indian judiciary has right now against such aggressive tactics to acquire massive data, Delhi HC has asked TRAI to form ways to regulate messaging apps in future.

But for now, WhatsApp is free to implement the new privacy policy, and acquire their users’ data.

What Will Happen With WhatsApp Data Now?

Effective September 25th, WhatsApp will implement their new privacy policy, which will allow them to acquire users’ vital data such as their phone number, location, device information and more.

In terms of fairness, WhatsApp is asking their users to provide consent regarding using that information for Facebook advertisements; which to be very honest, is a weak attempt to balance this controversial u-turn by WhatsApp.

The users who provide this consent should prepared to get bombarded with advertisements on their personal Facebook profile, triggered by their WhatsApp data.

And those who don’t provide the consent of this usage on Facebook should be prepared to experience a different form of indirect advertisement, the details of which are still not clear.

Why Did WhatsApp Win?

The arguments put forth by WhatsApp was quite clear, and to the point: They are not forcing anyone to use their services, and if anyone has a problem with the new privacy policy, then they are free to delete the account.

This is the real power of monopoly, as WhatsApp is aware that no other messaging app has a reach like that of them in the Indian market, and when everyone is on the network, then there isn’t much choice for the odd-man out who is concerned about the privacy aspect.

As we had reported last week, WhatsApp had said in the court: “Nobody has forced anyone (users) to join. If one is not happy (with the terms and conditions of the service), then opt out”

During the trial, Delhi HC had admitted that there isn’t much laws to control OTTs right now, and for this reason, TRAI has been asked to prepare regulations.

However, after the verdict yesterday, petitioners have consoled themselves by accepting the fact that atleast WhatsApp needs to remove old data, collected before September 25th, and also have to remove data from uninstalled accounts.

The counsel for the petitioners said, “WhatsApp will have to make changes to its policy to incorporate the directions of the court. For the future it will create a sensitivity among people that all their data could be shared with Facebook. If users make a conscious choice to share, then it’s fine.”

We will have to wait and see how this verdict changes the working and strategy of messenger apps, in terms of using users’ data; and how can TRAI form regulations to protect the same.

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