WhatsApp Treating Indian And European Users Differently On Privacy Policy A Cause For Concern: Centre To Delhi HCSource: Sahi Tarika

The central government told the Delhi High Court that it is looking into WhatsApp’s differential treatment of its Indian users regarding their new privacy policy as compared to the European counterparts, Mint reports.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma the court that an opt-out option to not share data with Facebook has been given to European users of WhatsApp, but it has not been given to the Indian users

The ASG made these submissions to Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva during the hearing of a lawyer’s petition against WhatsApp’s newly released privacy policy for its Indian users.

“Privacy policy offered by WhatsApp to its European users specifically prohibits the use of any information shared with a Facebook company...this clause has not been offered to Indians and Indian citizens who form a substantial part of WhatsApp’s user base,” Sharma was quoted as saying.

“This differential treatment is certainly a cause of concern for the government. The government is also concerned about the Indian users being subjected to these changes rather unilaterally by not providing them the ability to opt out,” he added.

Sharma asserted that companies like WhatsApp and Facebook were indulging in an ‘all or nothing approach’ by not giving the Indian citizens a choice to refuse their new data-sharing approach.

“This leverages the social significance of WhatsApp to force users into a bargain which may infringe on their interests in information privacy and information security.”

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has already sought certain key information from WhatsApp regarding this issue.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal is appearing for the Facebook Inc owned freeware application. He said that the central government’s communication will be responded to accordingly. The court will hear the matter on 1 March now.

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