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Contrary to reports, WhatsApp will comply with Delhi HC order on user data sharing


Countering media reports, WhatsApp said that it will  comply with last week’s Delhi HC ruling which directed it to delete all information/data of users who delete their WhatsApp account by 25th September 2016. The ruling also said that any such data shall not be shared with Facebook. If a user chooses to remain on WhatsApp then the service shall not share data of users collected up till 25th September 2016, the ruling added.

A Mashable story yesterday quoted a WhatsApp spokesperson as saying “The ruling has no impact on the planned policy and terms of service updates.” The spokesperson for WhatsApp however told us that the quote mentioned in the story was “factually incorrect”.

Public Relations company MSLGROUP speaking for WhatsApp told MediaNama: “WhatsApp will comply with the order from the Delhi High Court. We plan to proceed with the privacy policy and terms update in accordance with the Court’s order. The Court’s emphasis on the importance of user choice and consent is encouraging.”

WhatsApp’s Policy changes and PIL at Delhi HC

WhatsApp had updated its privacy policy in August to collect user data including phone numbers, usage patterns, status and login information to perform analytics and for “people (users) to communicate with businesses”. Further such information would also be shared with Facebook and Facebook’s family of apps so that it can track basic metrics like how often users utilize services.

Subsequently, a PIL was filed against the messaging app stating that the “drastic changes” in WhatsApp’s privacy policy is a U-turn from the earlier privacy policy that existed since 7th July 2012. The newly introduced changes “severely compromises the rights of its users and makes Privacy rights of users complete vulnerable,” the petition said. The court had asked WhatsApp to file a short affidavit before the 20th September explaining its position with regards to the concerns raised in the petition.

Initially WhatsApp opposed the PIL in the Delhi HC which also claimed that the company was threatening the privacy of its users. The messaging company countered that all user data was encrypted, and that it did not have access to any of it.

Facebook will not comply with German commission order

This week, German data protection authorities ordered WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with Facebook. The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information issued a notice ordering Facebook to cease data collection of German WhatsApp users and asked the company to delete all data which was forwarded.

Facebook has however decided to appeal this decision. A spokesperson from the company told MediaNama that it will appeal this order and “will work with the Hamburg DPA in an effort to address their questions and resolve any concerns.”  Users in Germany and around the world were already asked to agree to the recent policy changes before any changes were implemented, added the Facebook spokesperson.

Also Read:
On the Delhi HC asking WhatsApp to scrub user data
Editorial: Offer valid till…

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