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Users can quit WhatsApp if concerned about privacy policy: Facebook counsel

WhatsApp's lawyer Kapil Sibal conveyed to the court that text messages and calls made through the app were protected by an end-to-end encryption which ensures user's privacy

BT Online | May 2, 2017 | Updated 10:58 IST
Users can quit WhatsApp if concerned about privacy policy: Facebook counsel

Facebook owned WhatsApp told the Supreme Court that people who are concerned about its privacy should quit the messaging platform.

This comes after the ongoing scrutiny over the messaging app's privacy policy that has been highly debated by the apex court.

WhatsApp's lawyer Kapil Sibal conveyed to the court that text messages and calls made through the app were protected by an end-to-end encryption which ensures user's privacy, reported the Economic Times.

Sibal further added that since the agreement between the user and WhatsApp happen entirely in a private setup, the privacy policy of the company could not be tested constitutionally.

This in turn makes the petition filed by students Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi unsustainable, he said.

Facebook lawyer KK Venugopal took a tougher stance asking the users who felt that the privacy policy was 'violative' to 'quit'.

"Those who find the new privacy policy irksome or violative of their fundamental rights, can quit. We've given full freedom to users to withdraw from Facebook and WhatsApp," said Venugopal.

The bench, comprising Justices Dipak Misra, A K Sikri, Amitava Roy, A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar, said that this would eventually coerce the common man to make a negative choice.

However, petitioner Harish Salve claimed that under the new policy, users were unknowingly giving consent to WhatsApp and Facebook who could pry on personal messages.

"They claim that this is being done to improve services to be given in future to users. Whether the snooping is done electronically or manually, the right to privacy of users gets breached. The government is duty bound to protect the fundamental right of every citizen. If it is failing, then the SC can surely issue appropriate directions," said Salve.

Representing the Centre, Tushar Mehta said that the government resorted to protect fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution and informed the court that soon a regulatory body for internet based messaging and voice calls will soon be introduced.

The bench fixed May 15 for preliminary hearing.

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