Free to Quit WhatsApp, If you don’t like Privacy Policy : Facebook

Facebook told the Supreme Court that, people who are concerned about its privacy should quit the WhatsApp, after a highly debated on pending scrutiny of WhatsApps’s privacy policy by the apex court.

A PIL was filed by two students, Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, against WhatsApp’s new policy under which data of a user can be shared with Facebook.

Facebook is fighting a challenge to its new privacy policy that it unveiled last year. According to the new privacy policy WhatsApp can share some user data with Facebook. Facebook only requires the phone number of a user to build a full WhatsApp profile for that user. WhatsApp also said that, this privacy policy will (still) not share all the information that users generate through their chats.

A Petitioner Harish Salve claimed that,

“Under the new policy, users were unknowingly giving consent to WhatsApp and Facebook who could pry on personal messages.”

“They claim that this is being done to improve services to be given in future to users. Whether the snooping is done electronically or manually, the right to privacy of users gets breached. The government is duty bound to protect the fundamental right of every citizen. If it is failing, then the SC can surely issue appropriate directions.”

Statement from K K Venugopal, a Lawyer who is representing Facebook

“Those who find the new privacy policy irksome or violative of their fundamental rights, can quit. We’ve given full freedom to users to withdraw from Facebook and WhatsApp.”

“Facebook doesn’t put its users under any obligations and if users want they can easily delete Facebook as well as WhatsApp and stop using the service.”

WhatsApp’s Counsel Kapil Sibal told the court that,

“WhatsApp Messages and Voice Calls over the platform were end-to-end encrypted which ensured complete privacy. The contract between a user and WhatsApp was completely in the private domain. Therefore, the policy could not be tested constitutionally by the apex court. However, that is not ground enough to give WhatsApp the benefit of doubt.”

While the arguments in this case are on, it will be a while before Supreme Court rules on this matter of new WhatsApp privacy policy.

The court has fixed May 15 as the date for preliminary hearing.