SC questions WhatsApp's dual standards for India and rest of world on data sharing

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WhatsApp is good, but fundamental rights of a citizen more important, the Supreme Court observed. A five judge constitution bench headed by Justice Dipak Mishra was hearing petitions which had raised concerns over the privacy issues surrounding the popular messaging service WhatsApp.

SC questions WhatsApp's dual standards for India and rest of world on data sharing

The court said that there was a need to put in place a mechanism for data protection. The centre informed the court that it was in the process of framing a law on data protection. The court said that the fundamental right of citizens must be protected. It is alleged that rights of 160 million users in the country were being violated by WhatsApp, which was sharing information with Facebook.

WhatsApp does have great advantages, but fundamental rights of a citizen are more important, the court said.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the Centre was committeed to protect the rights of citizens and the government would soon frame a law to protect vital personal details people hand over while opening bank accounts, joining social media platforms and using various apps.

The court sought to know why WhatsApp was sharing information of its users in India when it had been restrained from doing so in other countries. You must maintain a global standard. We can protect rights of citizens and it is our constitutional duty. We are not concerned about your business interest and our concern is rights of citizens. We do not think that anyone would want to share data, the Bench observed.

The counsel for WhatsApp said that videos and pictures shared through their platform were fully protected and they agreed to make a statement on oath that the companies did not share data. They also said that the petition filed by two students against privacy policy of WhatsApp was not maintainable.

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