WhatsApp privacy policy: Supreme Court declines petition


Tanvi Sinha

The Supreme Court decided to not entertain a petition filed by the Confederation of All India Traders where they complained of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy being arbitrary and unconstitutional. 

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian granted liberty to the petitioner to instead appeal to the High court regarding the same.

The petition highlighted WhatsApp’s recent changes to its privacy policy which it stated had the potential to encroach on various fundamental rights of Indian citizens.

Filed by Advocate Abir Roy, on behalf of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the petition had requested the court to set guidelines to regulate big tech companies to safeguard Indian citizen’s interests.

CAIT president BC Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal stated that WhatsApp’s new policy was “My way or highway” which should not be accepted in a democracy. 

Additionally, the petition highlighted concerns of collecting personal user data, and was acquired by Facebook in 2014.

Facebook has already had privacy concerns and hearings where it was found to be sharing private information with a UK based company called Cambridge Analytica. 

While WhatsApp had at that point promised to not share its user’s data to Facebook, it went back on its promise in 2016 when it severely compromised the privacy rights of its users, allowing data to be shared to Facebook for advertising and marketing schemes. 

Earlier this year in January on a hearing for a similar petition, the Delhi High Court via Justice Manohar Lal had stated that, if the terms and condition of the private app were shocking to a citizens privacy, citizens were at full liberty to not use it.

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