Home/ News / India/  'You may be a $2-3 trillion company but...': Supreme Court notice to WhatsApp

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to social media companies Facebook and WhatsApp in connection with a plea challenging its new privacy policy. The plea sought a stay on the operation of the new privacy policy of WhatsApp.

Seeking responses from both the tech firms, the apex court said that it will have to intervene to protect people's privacy in the wake of the messaging app's new policy on this regard.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI), SA Bobde, AS Bopanna, and V Ramasubramanian said that the Indian citizens have grave apprehensions regarding the privacy concerns posed by the new privacy policy introduced by the popular messaging app, WhatsApp.

"You (Facebook and WhatsApp) may be a $2-3 trillion company but people value their privacy more than money," the top court told Facebook and WhatsApp.

The top court was hearing an application seeking directions to be issued to WhatsApp not to lower privacy standards for Indian Users, and to apply the same privacy policy and terms of use to Indian users as is being applied in the European Region.

"There is no clarity on when the Data Protection legislation will be passed and brought into effect in India. In order to protect the rights of crores of citizens of India, till an appropriate regulatory regime is brought into existence by operation of law, it is imperative that this Hon’ble Court prohibits the operation of the new Privacy Policy sought to be made mandatory by WhatsApp," the application stated.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp and Facebook have refuted the government's allegation of users' data sharing and told the court that such fears were baseless.

It told the SC that the same privacy policy is applicable to all countries except European nations, which have special data protection laws.

In January this year, WhatsApp renewed its terms of service and privacy policy, which were to come into effect on 8 February.

This new privacy policy of Whatsapp asks users to agree to its new data-sharing norms, a key point of which is sharing data from business conversations with Facebook, the owner of the messaging service. Since it was not optional, users were left confused and concerned about their privacy.

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Updated: 15 Feb 2021, 12:32 PM IST
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