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Monday, January 25, 2021

Plea In Delhi High Court

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WhatsApp is now used for governmental functions as well, the plea said (Representational)

New Delhi:

An advocate has moved the Delhi High Court seeking direction for an injunction against WhatsApp’s new privacy policy with immediate effect, stressing that the messaging app’s updated policy violates Right to Privacy.

The plea was filed by advocate Chaitanya Rohilla who stated that WhatsApp changed its Privacy Policy in the “most arbitrary manner” and had made it compulsory for its users to accept its terms and conditions, failing which the accounts and services will be terminated after February 8, 2021 for the respective user.

The petitioner said that the changed policy violates the Right to Privacy of the citizens of India, which is a fundamental right guaranteed in Part-III of the Constitution of India.

He sought to direct the Centre to lay down guidelines in the exercise of its powers under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act (IT Act) and under the Constitution to ensure that Respondent Whatsapp does not share any data of its users with any third party or Facebook and its companies for any purpose whatsoever.

The petitioner has also sought to issue a writ of mandamus for an injunction against WhatsApp’s updated Privacy Policy with immediate effect and to issue guidelines or directions to ensure that any change in Privacy Policy by WhatsApp is carried out strictly in accordance with the Fundamental Rights guaranteed in Part-III of the Constitution till such time as rules/guidelines are framed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Highlighting that WhatsApp has become an important mode of communication and is also being used to aide multiple Governmental functions as well, the petitioner also pointed out that the Supreme Court has allowed the service of summons via electronic mode, including WhatsApp.

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“This substantiates to the fact that WhatsApp is discharging a Public Function despite being a private entity. In the prevalent Covid-19 pandemic times, confidential proceedings, such as that of the mediations is being conducted by WhatsApp. For instance, the District Legal Services Authority, Mediation and Concilliation Centre, Gurugram, uses WhatsApp to conduct mediation proceedings (Video Conference) through WhatsApp,” the petition said.

“Over the years, WhatsApp use has become indispensable in the day to day affairs of citizens and also in Government and Judicial functionaries. At the outset, WhatsApp cannot be allowed to go berserk at its whims and fancy,” the petition said.

According to the petition, WhatsApp is an instant messaging service provider application and over 2 billion people across more than 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with work, friends, and family.

“As per its website, with WhatsApp, you will get fast, simple, secure messaging and calling for free available on phones all over the world. WhatsApp is free, it uses internet connection via WiFi or Data connection, and offers to message and calling, available on phones all over the world. WhatsApp is an effective alternative to SMS and has grown its root deep into the society and their product supports sending and receiving a variety of media: text, photos, videos, documents, and location, as well as voice calls,” the petition said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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