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SC issues notice to Govt, TRAI and Facebook in privacy case: report

The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Government, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Facebook over a plea seeking privacy on data, reports the Huffington Post. The court has asked for a reply from the government, Facebook and WhatsApp in two weeks.

The petition filed argued that there is no protection of data on social media networks like WhatsApp and Facebook, and that these should be considered as public utility services and treated as such. However, the court said that these are free social networks, and users should not use it if they are concerned about privacy.

The petitioners argued that the privacy policy change by WhatsApp changed its most valuable feature – of keeping user privacy. As such, the filing asks for an option of ‘do not share’ for users not wanting to share information with Facebook. The court has agreed to further hear the case in mid-May.

Note that after WhatsApp’s policy change, the Delhi High Court had held that users cannot demand that Whatsapp continue with its old terms of service, and choose to not share data with Facebook. However, the Delhi High Court had asked Whatsapp to delete information and data on those users who delete their accounts by the 25th of September, and not share it with Facebook, in addition to not sharing any user data from before the 25th of September.

As we have pointed out before, if users continue to consent and use apps without reading terms and conditions, they’re responsible for the consent. However, the privacy of Indian citizens is the responsibility of the Indian government but there isn’t a privacy law in India. There was a draft Privacy law which surfaced in 2011, although as late as May 2016 the Government said its still drafting it without providing a timeline.

Image source: Flickr user Josh Hallett under CC BY 2.0

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