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The Delhi High Court has on Monday recused from hearing a petition that has challenged WhatsApp’s new privacy policy which was slated to come into effect in February, but has been deferred till May.

A single-judge bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva heard the petition, preferred by advocate Chaitanya Rohilla, who claimed that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp absolutely violates the Right to Privacy guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner argued that the new policy ‘virtually gives a 360-degree profile into a person’s online activity’ without any ‘government oversight’. It is the petitioner’s concern that the updated privacy policy ‘takes away the choice’ of a user to not share their data with other Facebook-owned apps and third-party apps.

“It is a private app. Don’t join it. What is your grievance? I can’t understand your concern. If you feel WhatsApp will compromise data, delete WhatsApp,” asserted the HC.

While the counsel for the petitioner, advocate Manohar Lal asserted that ‘everything’ that a user was doing was being analyzed by the Facebook-owned social app, the Court stated that several other platforms also did the same and not just WhatsApp alone.

“Not just WhatsApp but all platforms do that. Do you know Google Maps also shares data? I doubt if you’ve read the terms and conditions (of any of the apps that you use),” the Court asked the counsel for the petitioner.

On the other hand, during the brief hearing, the Senior Counsel appearing for WhatsApp and Facebook submitted that the private WhatsApp chats are completely encrypted.

“Private chats are completely encrypted. The change (in the privacy policy) is for business WhatsApp. All social chats between friends, relatives whatever is completely encrypted,” said Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi representing Facebook.

Further, the court said that it could not understand what data would be leaked according to the petitioner and since the issue requires consideration, it will be listed on January 25 due to paucity of time on Monday.


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