'Privacy Of People More Important Than Your Money' :Supreme Court Issues Notice On Plea Against What'sApp's New Privacy Policy

15th Feb,2021

'Privacy Of People More Important Than Your Money' :Supreme Court Issues Notice On Plea Against What'sApp's New Privacy Policy

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a notice of application, repayable within four weeks, seeking to prohibit WhatsApp from enforcing its new privacy policy in India and to order WhatsApp to extend the privacy policy applicable to users in the European Zone. The respondents in the interlocutory application filed in a pending case originally filed against the messaging platform's 2016 privacy policy are the Union Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, WhatsApp and Facebook.
The CJI acknowledged that individuals with regard to Whatsapp's new policy have serious questions regarding their right to privacy and instructed the company to clarify its position by filing a counter affidavit within 4 weeks. It claimed that the privacy of individuals must be preserved in view of the allegation that data from users is exchanged with other businesses. "People have grave concerns about their privacy. You may be 2 trillion 3 trillion company. But the privacy of people are more important than your money," said the CJI. The Bench also claimed that it would have to decide whether a similar petition, pending before the High Court of Delhi, could be maintained if the Supreme Court's Constitution Bench had already taken up the matter. Shyam Divan, Senior Advocate (appearing for the applicant), told the Supreme Court that WhatsApp discriminates between its users in India and those located in Europe. He said, "One set of privacy standards apply to Europe and a different set of standards apply to Indians. This happens when the Personal Data Protection Bill is pending… There is a huge differentiation between Europeans and Indians. In response to this, Sibal argued that Indian users are not provided with any preferential treatment. He argued that the same policy is applicable globally and, considering its data privacy regulations, a different policy has been framed only for Europe.
Recently, a bench headed by CJI SA Bobde refused to entertain a plea challenging the new privacy policy of WhatsApp and asked the petitioner to approach the Delhi High Court, which is considering two petitions against it.