WhatsApp’s new privacy policy violates the IT law and rules: Centre to Delhi high court

The Centre told the Delhi high court that it believes that WhatsApp’s new privacy policy violates the Indian Information Technology (IT) law and rules. It sought directions for the social media platform to clarify whether or not it was conforming to the same. The central government’s claim was made before a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh during a hearing of several pleas challenging WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, which according to the platform, has come into effect from 15 May and not been deferred.

WhatsApp told the bench that while its new privacy policy has come into effect from 15 May, it would not start deleting accounts of those users who have not accepted it and would try to encourage them to get on board. The platform said there was no universal or uniform time limit after which it will start to delete accounts as each user would be dealt with on a case-to-case basis.

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The bench issued a notice to the Centre, Facebook and WhatsApp and sought their stand on one of the pleas by a lawyer who claimed that the new policy violates users’ Right to Privacy under the Constitution.

During the hearing, the Centre said that according to it the policy violated Indian IT laws and rules. It said it has written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the issue and a reply is awaited. Therefore, there was a need to maintain status quo with regard to implementing the policy.

WhatsApp, opposing the contention, said it was conforming to Indian IT law and rules and reiterated that its policy has come into effect from 15 May, but it won’t be deleting accounts right away.

When the matter was initially listed before a single judge, the Centre had said that WhatsApp was treating Indian users differently from Europeans over opting out of its new privacy policy, which was a matter of concern for the government and it was looking into the issue.

It said that it was also concerning that Indian users were being ‘unilaterally’ subjected to the change in privacy policy by the instant messaging platform and that the government was looking into it.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on 3 June.



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