The Delhi HC after reviewing the petition has issued a notice yesterday to DoT and TRAI to look into the alleged privacy violation by Facebook and WhatsApp. WhatsApp once contended that it shall not collect or store any kind of user data and that it has no plans to do so. The company issued these statements after many critics and users raised concerns about their privacy when Facebook acquired WhtasApp in 2014. However, after more than a year of the acquisition, the recent changes threaten to take away protection of privacy and data of users, added the petition compiled by LiveLaw.
“..the manner in which so-called consent is sought to be taken is highly deceptive in as much as almost the entire community of Users of WhatsApp in India are not equipped to even read, much less comprehend, the consequences of the terms and conditions on the basis whereupon, WhatsApp is pretending to obtain consent of the Users,” LiveLaw observed from the petition
What the petition is asking for
According to the LiveLaw complied report the petition asks for:
- Issuance of a written prohibition or direction prohibiting WhatsApp, Facebook, and associated companies from sharing user data to companies for advertising, in any manner whatsoever.
- Facebook, WhatsApp, and associate companies could be directed by an appropriate regulatory or statutory authority to respect and protect user’s privacy. These authorities should also look to safeguard a citizen’s private information including audio, video, text, and any other forms of private data by framing privacy rules/regulations/guidelines for any kind of mobile application that provides one-to-one messaging.
- Issuance of a written direction or guideline for Internet-based messing services like WhatsApp mandating them to fully and specifically disclose what kind of data will be collected, and obtain consent from a user before carrying out any such data collection. Users who wish to not share any private information with companies, should still have access to the messaging service