Delhi high court allows WhatsApp's new privacy policy to be enforced; imposes conditions
nisha tyagi 24 Sep 2016

Delhi high court allows WhatsApp's new privacy policy to be enforced; imposes conditions

From 25 September onwards, WhatsApp can legally share information that it gets on its platform for commercial purposes with Facebook and its family of companies. Any confusion that prevailed over user information being shared by WhatsApp has now been cleared with the ruling of the Delhi high court. The Delhi high court held that WhatsApp could continue with their privacy policy as scheduled but also safeguarded user information which was shared before 25th September.

In this regard, it was held that the information shared by users before 25th September could not be shared by WhatsApp. Also, protection was extended to those who chose to delete their accounts as their information could not be shared with Facebook. WhatsApp, however, made it clear that messages exchanged between users on their platform could not be used for commercial purposes due to end to end encryption. The ruling was one which was balanced as it protected interests of the users as well as the messaging group, WhatsApp. It upheld the freedom of a person to make a choice and thereafter bear its consequences.

The question of privacy of information shared under the platform was not gone into as this is currently being heard by the Supreme Court.
Ruling of the court had come on a plea by two students, Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, who alleged violation of fundamental rights of users by sharing confidential information under the new privacy policy. The petitioners contended that the security and privacy of the data belonging stood compromised under the new policy. WhatsApp's new privacy policy was introduced in the form of a push notification which most users agreed to without understanding the consequences.

By choosing to abide by the new policy, users allowed WhatsApp to hand over information about them to its parent company Facebook for commercial use, advertising and marketing on its platform. This includes sharing of phone numbers and information on a users' contact list. Users were given an option to opt out of the new policy by going into their WhatsApp settings and unclicking on the box allowing sharing of information.


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