Harish Salve to Delhi High Court: Till Data Protection Bill takes effect WhatsApp puts hold on Updated Policy

Team SoOLEGAL 10 Jul 2021 4:15pm

Harish Salve to Delhi High Court: Till Data Protection Bill takes effect WhatsApp puts hold on Updated Policy

Delhi High Court was informed by WhatsApp that it has voluntarily decided to put their new privacy policy on hold. It was also clarified before the Hon’ble bench that the functionality of users who opted out of the policy will not be restricted in any way.

Harish Salve, Senior Advocate, counsel on behalf of WhatsApp submitted "Government has asked to shut down the policy. We have said we will not enforce it till Data Protection Bill comes out. That is open-ended because we don’t know when the Bill is going to come out ... We have said we will not do this for a while. Suppose the Bill allows me to do it, we will have completely different ramifications" before Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh.

The court was informed that MEITY that is, Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology informed WhatsApp that the new privacy policy formed by the instant messaging app was inconsistent with the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information), Rules, 2011. The counsel enlightened this issue and stated that, “We replied to MEITY's notice seeking a response, saying that WhatsApp will not limit functionality for some time and continue to show users the updated (version) ... We will maintain this approach until Data Protection Bill comes into force. We have voluntarily agreed to put update on hold till then.”

The court in the earlier hearing, refused to put a stay on the CCI notice served on June 4, 2021 to WhatsApp seeking more information on the policy. Further, another notice was issued by the court referring to the applications filed by WhatsApp and its holding company Facebook obtaining prevention on any forcible action in conformity with the notice.

Thereafter, appeals were filed by Facebook and WhatsApp questioning the single bench order refusing to put a stay on CCI’s investigation. So, on May 6, 2021 the court issued a notice regarding this.

Justice Navin Chawla, in April, 2021 declared that the investigation order could not bequashed just because the Commission did not wait till the final observations of the pending cases before the High Courts and Supreme Court.

The High Court was moved by WhatsApp and Facebook challenging CCI’s order that called for a DG or Director General probe “to ascertain the full extent, scope and impact of data sharing through involuntary consent of users.”

Tagged: Harish Salve   Delhi High Court   Data Protection Bill   WhatsApp   Updated Policy   Chief Justice DN Patel   Justice Jyoti Singh   Information Technology rules   CCI   Justice Navin Chawla   high court  
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