WhatsApp Privacy Update: WhatsApp asked by SC reasons for lower standards of privacy for Indians

The Indian Supreme Court (SC) has asked Facebook-owned WhatsApp and the Centre to furnish a reply to a new plea alleging lower standards of privacy for Indians in comparison to European counterparts.

SC in the order has stated that “people have grave apprehensions that they will lose their privacy and it is our duty to protect them.”

“You may be two or three trillion companies but people value their privacy more than money,” a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde told WhatsApp according to a PTI report.

The petition has been filed by Karmanya Singh Sareen with Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioner. During the hearing, Divan said that the instant messaging app has been applying lower standards of privacy for Indians, and the petitioner is looking for the company to be barred from sharing data with its parent.

The apex court also stated that it has earlier been proposed to bring in a data protection law similar to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) be implemented.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal on behalf of WhatsApp stated that Europe is a special case scenario for the company due to its GDPR law. He added if a similar law was to be brought into enforcement in India the company will follow it.

The Centre during the hearing stated that social media apps like WhatsApp cannot share data of users and that all user data must be protected.

To recall, the Delhi high court had provided a verdict on this earlier, which was that no relief was granted for data shared by users post-September 25, 2016. And that sharing of data was an infringement of fundamental rights under Article 19 (Freedom of Speech and Expression) and 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution.

Written with PTI inputs.

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