WhatsApp has turned out to be one of the fastest ways of communication over the years. The app has over 1.2 billion users worldwide and almost has 200 million users in India. WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014 with the promise to keep the service ad-free. However, a major plot-twist came when it announced that users are to accept the new terms and conditions. As per those terms, WhatsApp would start sharing user information with Facebook for ad-targeting.
A petition was filed by petitioners Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, last year regarding the same in Delhi High Court. The Court had further ruled out in September that WhatsApp had to delete user account information of all its users who had opted to delete their account.It also stated that WhatsApp could not share any information about the same with Facebook up to the date of order, September 25,2016.
The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that a user’s data is integral to life and dignity. The Centre’s submissions were made before a five-member Constitution Bench headed by justice Dipak Misra of the Supreme Court. The Centre further added that it is looking into enacting a regulatory framework for such social apps so as to ensure the protection of information of users.
Additional Solicitor General PS Narasimha said,
“Data of user is connected to the personality and it is an integral part of Article 21 (Protection of Life and Personal Liberty of the Constitution). If any contractual obligation impinges upon that, it will have ramifications. We will come out with regulations (on data protection)”.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal who was representing WhatsApp, told the board that the app was not against the regulatory regime. He also mentioned that no personal information was shared on the messaging platform. He further said that a nine-judge bench of the apex court is adjudicating whether privacy is a fundamental right.
Supreme Court has decided that further hearing would be conducted on September 6th. Since, the nine-member bench would have given a judgement by then.
The whole privacy issue with WhatsApp has surprised many of us. But it is still an unknown fact about how many other social websites/apps are collecting our personal information for x-reasons.