Petition Filed in Delhi High Court Challenging the New Privacy Policy of WhatsApp

A petition has been raised before the Delhi High Court challenging the updated privacy policy of the instant messaging app, WhatsApp. It is accused of looking into the virtual activities of the users.

The petition was filed by Advocate Chaitanya Rohilla and he claims that it is a total invasion of the privacy of users and the right to privacy has been guaranteed by our constitution.

The petition further claims that it gives a 360-degree view into a person’s online activities without any Government insight. It does not give a choice to the customer of not sharing personal data with third-party apps. It does not even give any clarity about to what extent the data will be used and what will be done with the sensitive data of the users.

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Further, it mentions that WhatsApp is jeopardizing our county’s security by sharing user’s data in another country and thus, in turn, will be governed by the laws of that country.

WhatsApp is owned by Facebook. The petition accuses WhatsApp and Facebook of sharing personal data of customers with a third party in an unauthorized manner. It also says that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp has come out without seeking any prior permission from the Government.

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Observing that the state has an obligation to ensure fundamental rights are not violated, the petitioner has asked for an immediate stay on the privacy policy of WhatsApp. It has also sought guidelines from the Government regarding the usage of the app under the Information Technology Act and the Constitution of India keeping in mind the customer’s privacy policy.

WhatsApp is making it compulsory for the users to accept all the terms and conditions by February 8, 2021 failing which there will be a termination of services.

The petition expresses its dissatisfaction with this arbitrary behaviour and says that it is totally unacceptable as it is ultra vires and against Fundamental rights.

The petitioner has argued that WhatsApp is a private body and is subject to the writ jurisdiction of the High Court as it performs a public function of enabling a free flow of communication between customers.

The case is likely to be heard tomorrow.


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