Excerpt from Medianama Article – Published on Oct 17, 2023

In the ongoing legal battle challenging WhatsApp’s privacy policy, an application filed in the Supreme Court has appealed for a directive compelling the messaging platform to adhere to India’s newly enacted data protection law, as reported by MoneyControl. The petitioners argue that WhatsApp’s privacy policy, particularly its data-sharing practices with other Meta-owned entities, violates the provisions of the law.

According to the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023, processing personal data is permissible only with explicit user consent. Companies can also process data without consent for “legitimate uses,” such as during epidemics or disasters. The petition specifically requests the Supreme Court to instruct WhatsApp to cease data sharing without obtaining prior consent from the concerned user.

Citing a precedent in the European region with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the petition highlights that WhatsApp had previously committed not to transfer user data to any other Facebook company until the GDPR came into force.

Additionally, the petitioners seek provisions for users to delete data stored on the platform before the law’s enactment and demand the appointment of a data protection officer, as mandated by the data protection law.

This case originated in 2016 before the Delhi High Court, challenging WhatsApp’s privacy policy that permitted the sharing of user data with other Meta entities. After the High Court’s decision, the case was elevated to the Supreme Court, which is currently hearing arguments related to WhatsApp’s 2021 privacy policy update, including the revelation that Facebook accessed WhatsApp business messages and metadata. WhatsApp had paused the policy until the enactment of India’s data protection law. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court directed WhatsApp to communicate that Indian users could continue using the service without accepting the 2021 privacy policy update until the data protection law is presented in Parliament.

To delve deeper into this topic, please read the full article on Medianama.