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Downloading WhatsApp on mobile phones not mandatory, says Delhi High Court

On Monday, the Delhi High Court was hearing the petition challenging WhatsApp's new privacy policy. The messaging app recently delayed the implementation of its revised policy by three months.

twitter-logoAneesha Mathur | January 25, 2021 | Updated 13:06 IST
WhatsApp icon on iPhone
WhatsApp icon on iPhone

The Centre on Monday told the Delhi High Court that WhatsApp was treating Indian users differently from its European ones with regard to opting out of its new privacy policy, and this was a matter of concern for the government which is looking into it.

The central government told the high court that it was also a matter of concern that Indian users were being "unilaterally" subjected to the change in the privacy policy by social networking platform WhatsApp.

The submissions were made before Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva by Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma during the hearing of a petition by a lawyer against the new privacy policy of the social networking platform owned by Facebook.

During the hearing, Sharma told the court that by not giving Indian users the option to opt-out of sharing their data with other companies of Facebook, WhatsApp prima facie appears to be treating users with an "all or nothing approach".

"This leverages the social significance of WhatsApp to force users into a bargain which may infringe on their interests in information privacy and information security," he told the court.

Sharma said the government was already looking into the issue and has sent a communication to WhatsApp seeking certain information.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for WhatsApp, told the court that the communication has been received and will be responded to.

The court, thereafter, listed the matter for hearing on March 1.

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