WhatsApp Privacy Policy To Be Examined By Supreme Court

New Delhi, July 21: The Central Government, in its latest submission, to the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court said personal data is integral to life and dignity. Additional Solicitor-General PS Narasimha told a five-judge Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra that right to privacy remains an integral part of Article 21 (Fundamental Right to Life and Liberty).

The statement contradicts the position of the centre taken before another constitutional branch where it said the right to privacy is not a fundamental right. The bench is examining the privacy policy of social media company Whatsapp which allegedly shared its data with the parent company Facebook after its acquisition.

The appeal filed in the apex court by Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi assailed the high court verdict on the ground that no relief was granted for data shared by users post September 25, 2016 and it amounted to infringement of fundamental rights under Article 19 (Freedom of Speech and Expression) and 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution.

The counsel appearing for the petitioner said that a new WhatsApp policy which enabled it to the share user’s information with social networking site Facebook, not only hampers privacy under Article 21 but also the freedom of speech under Article 19 of the Constitution.

On January 16, the court had sought response from the Centre and telecom regulator TRAI on a plea that privacy of over 157 million Indians has been infringed by social networking sites — WhatsApp and Facebook — for alleged commercial use of personal communication.

The Delhi High Court had earlier restrained WhatsApp, an instant messaging application, from sharing with Facebook the user information existing upto September 25, 2016 when its new privacy policy came into effect.

The high court, in its verdict in September last year, had directed WhatsApp to delete the information/data of persons who opted out of the service before September 25, 2016 and not to share it with Facebook or its group companies.

The high court had also directed the Centre and the TRAI to examine the feasibility of bringing the functioning of Internet messaging applications like WhatsApp under statutory regulatory framework.

Source : http://www.india.com/news/india/personal-data-integral-to-life-and-dignity-centre-tells-supreme-court-2340593/

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