HC allows new privacy policy of WhatsApp with rider

HC allows new privacy policy of WhatsApp with rider

New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Friday allowed WhatsApp to roll out its new privacy policy but said it cannot share data of its users collected up to September 25, 2016.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said WhatsApp will not share users’ data collected under its old privacy policy over the years up to September 25, 2016, with Facebook or any other related company.

WhatsApp has to completely delete all data of users who chooses to opt out of the instant messaging app after the coming into force of its new privacy policy, said the court.

The court also said that WhatsApp will delete users’ data up to September 25, even of those who choose not to opt out of the instant messaging app and agree with new privacy policy.

“We have taken note of the fact that under the privacy policy of WhatsApp, the users are given an option to delete their WhatsApp account at any time, in which event, the information of the users would be deleted from the the servers of WhatsApp. We are, therefore, of the view that it is always open to the existing users of WhatsApp, who do not want their information to be shared with Facebook, to opt for deletion of their account,” the court held.

The court also directed the government to consider the issue of functioning of instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp and take an appropriate decision as to whether it is feasible to bring them under the statutory regulatory framework.

On August 25, WhatsApp made extensive changes to its privacy policy. Under the new norm, it announced it would and could share users’ personal information, including their phone numbers, with its parent company Facebook.

WhatsApp had given its users a 30-day period to opt out of the new privacy policy which expires on September 25.

The new privacy policy is in stark contrast to the earlier one that existed from July 7, 2012.

The court’s order came on a PIL which said privacy of the users was threatened by the new policy announced by Facebook, which now owns the mobile messaging service.

WhatsApp has maintained that it does not retain information of its users on its servers once the account has been deleted by the user.

Petitioners’ advocate Pratibha M. Singh had opposed WhatsApp’s submission saying that user information continues to be retained for a longer period of time even after it is deleted.

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