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Users can quit WhatsApp if new privacy policy not acceptable: Facebook to SC

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If the Indian users of WhatsApp have any concerns related to the privacy of chats and calls that they have over it, they can just stop using it, Facebook, the owner of the company has told the countries top court.

The counsels for both the messaging platform and its owner presented their points regarding the maintainability of the petition filed by students Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi on the new privacy policy brought in by the companies and its relation to the right to privacy of users.

Users can quit WhatsApp if new privacy policy not acceptable: Facebook to SC

While WhatsApp counsel, Kapil Sharma, assured the SC's five-judge-bench over the security and privacy of the messages and chats over the platform pointing to their end-to-end encryption, he added that since the policy was a contract between the user and the company in the private domain, it could not be tested constitutionally by the court.

K K Venugopal, the counsel appearing for Facebook, on the other hand, was more direct as he told the court, "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." However, the bench replied to this by pointing out that such an action forces a citizen to make a negative choice.

Appearing for the petitioners, counsel Harish Salve said that users were being made to unwittingly give consent to both WhatsApp and Facebook, which could give the chance to the latter to snoop on messages privately exchanged between users of WhatsApp.

Salve said, "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."

Additional solicitor general, Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Centre, said that a regulatory regime for Internet-based messaging and voice call platforms would soon be put in place, as the government was committed to protect the freedom fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

The preliminary hearing has been scheduled on May 15.

OneIndia News

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