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WhatsApp Directed to Publicise Its Undertaking Given to the Centre in 2021

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed WhatsApp to widely publicise its undertaking given to the Centre in 2021 stand its users in India do not have to accept its 2021 privacy policy in order to use it.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice KM Joseph asked WhatsApp to give advertisement in five newspapers to publicise its undertaking given to the government.

The bench also comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy, and CT Ravikumar recorded the submission of the mobile messaging app that they will abide by the terms of the letter to the government.

“We record the stand taken in the letter (to the government) and we record the submission of the senior counsel for WhatsApp that they will abide by the terms of the letter… till the next date of hearing. We further direct that WhatsApp will give publicity to this aspect to the customers of WhatsApp in five national newspapers on two occasions,” the bench said.

The apex court posted the matter for hearing on April 11.

Yesterday, the top court apprised by the Centre that a new Data Protection Bill, 2022 would be introduced in the Parliament in the second half of the Budget session.

The bench was hearing pleas filed by two students challenging WhatsApp’s 2021 Privacy Policy to share users’ data with parent company Facebook and others is a violation of their privacy and free speech.

Defending the privacy policy of the messaging app, Sibal submitted there are 600 million subscribers in India.

He said no personal messages on the messaging app can ever be read by any person including WhatsApp and it’s encrypted end to end.

Two students — Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi — challenged the contract entered into between the two companies to provide access to calls, photographs, texts, videos and documents shared by users is a violation of their privacy and free speech.


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