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'Don't WhatsApp users' data to FB'

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MUMBAI: WhatsApp’s revised privacy policy has been rejected by the Delhi High Court on Friday. With a few safeguards, the online messaging platform’s modified policy was originally scheduled to come into effect on 25 September and proposed to share information of users with the parent company Facebook and affiliate entities.

This order came in response to a public interest litigation filed by the Over-The-Top (OTT) platform users against changes in the messaging service’s policy that took effect on 25 August. The order was given by the division bench of justices G Rohini and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal. WhatsApp has been directed not to share with Facebook information of users who would deactivate their accounts as well as the existing users up to September 25 to protect their interest.

The bench said that, keeping in view that the issue relating to the existence of an individual's right of privacy as a distinct basis of a cause of action is yet to be decided by a larger bench of the Supreme Court, it was considering it appropriate to issue the said directions. WhatsApp had earlier informed the court that, when a user account was deleted, the information of that person was no longer retained on its servers.

The platform has been directed to erase all information, data and details of users who choose to delete their accounts. The bench has also prohibited the messaging service from sharing any data or information acquired from users who decide to remain post the date mentioned.

The aggrieved users had also sought for directions to be issued to the Centre and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to consider the issues regarding the functioning of applications like WhatsApp and take an appropriate decision as to whether it is feasible to bring the same under the statutory regulatory framework.

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