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India’s Supreme Court admonishes WhatsApp over user privacy

WhatsApp faces opposition to its plans in India. (Source: WhatsApp)
WhatsApp faces opposition to its plans in India. (Source: WhatsApp)
The WhatsApp privacy policy change, in which the company will oblige users to agree to hand the data they have given it to Facebook, has caused controversy and virtual boycotts worldwide. However, the EU market is effectively immune to these changes. The Indian Supreme Court has argued that this should apply to all markets in which the messaging service is used.

The advocate Shyam Divan has appeared before India’s highest court to object to impending changes in WhatsApp’s privacy policy. This argument has highlighted the discrepancy between those in India (which, as with many other markets that include the US, will require that users agree to data-sharing with Facebook in order to keep using the popular messaging app) and those in Europe (which, thanks to legislative strictures, might not).

Divan’s petition has resulted in a Supreme Court reprimand for WhatsApp over its attitude to its users’ privacy, reportedly telling it, “You may be a $2-3 trillion company, but people’s privacy is more valuable for them – and it is our duty to protect their privacy”.

WhatsApp now has four weeks to respond to the court’s stance. Meanwhile, India’s latest Personal Data Protection Bill is still in the process of being passed as a law despite being proposed in 2019. However, it may not matter if WhatsApp’s dreaded terms-of-service notification beats it to the punch, as it is rapidly losing market share worldwide to alternatives such as Telegram and Signal.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 02 > India’s Supreme Court admonishes WhatsApp over user privacy
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-02-15 (Update: 2021-02-15)