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Don't join it, It is a voluntary thing: High court on WhatsApp Controversial Privacy Policy

By FnF Desk | PUBLISHED: 19, Jan 2021, 11:26 am IST | UPDATED: 22, Jan 2021, 9:41 am IST

Don't join it, It is a voluntary thing: High court on WhatsApp Controversial Privacy Policy

New Delhi: WatsApp has posponed the rollout of its controversial new update amid protests from users. People will now have three extra months to agree to its new rules, the company said. WhatsApp has committed to try and distribute more information about the rules in advance of the deadline in the hope of dispelling what it says is “misinformation”. But the content of the new policies –which have led users to flee to other messaging apps and forced WhatsApp to take out full-page newspaper ads – will not change.

Users had originally been told they had to agree to the new rules by 8 February, or face having their accounts suspended or deleted.Instead, users will have until 15 May before they are forced to agree to the rules, in the hope that they can “review the policy at their own pace”.

In the meantime, the company will “do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp”.

The Delhi High Court said accepting the new privacy policy of WhatsApp is "voluntary" thing and one can choose not to use watsapp if you do not agree with the terms and conditions.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said to the petitioner," Don't use the app , its a voluntary thing" a lawyer, who has challenged WhatsApp's new privacy policy which was slated to come into effect in February but has been deferred till May.

The court also said that if the terms and conditions of most mobile apps are read, "you would be surprised as to what all you are consenting to".

"Even Google maps captures all your data and stores it," the court said.

The court further said it could not understand what data would be leaked according to the petitioner and since the issue requires consideration, it will be listed on January 25 due to paucity of time on Monday.

The central government also agreed with the court that the issue needs to be analysed.

WhatsApp and Facebook, represented by senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Mukul Rohatgi, told the court that the plea was not maintainable and many of the issues raised in it were without any foundation.

They further told the court that private chat messages between family and friends would remain encrypted and cannot be stored by WhatsApp and this position would not change under the new policy.

The change in policy would only affect the business chats on WhatsApp, they said.The petition, by a lawyer, has contended that the updated privacy policy violates users right to privacy under the Constitution.

The plea has claimed that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp allows full access into a user's online activity without there being any supervision by the government.

Under the new policy, users can either accept it or exit the app, but they cannot opt not to share their data with other Facebook-owned or third party apps.

The lawyer appearing for the petitioner claimed that the option not to agree with the new policy was given to users in European nations, but not in India.

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