The Centre’s statement was in response to a plea challenging the messaging platform’s new policy. Petitioners contended that it indicates ‘fissures’ in Indian data protection
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.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh listed the matter for further hearing on 20 April.
The affidavit further said that the IT Rules impose a host of obligations on a company in relation to the security of the data collected by it in the course of its business.
The Centre said that the Supreme Court has placed a responsibility on the Centre to introduce a regime on data protection and privacy.
“The Union has discharged this obligation by introducing the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha. Upon enactment, this law will provide a robust regime on data protection which will limit the ability of entities such as Respondent No. 2 issuing privacy policies which do not align with appropriate standards of security and data protection,” the affidavit, filed through advocate Kirtiman Singh, said.
The petitioners have sought directions to the ministry and WhatsApp to ensure that people using the messaging app are given the option to opt out of sharing their personal data with its parent firm Facebook and its other companies.
They have also sought a direction to the ministry to frame guidelines, regulation or rules for safeguarding the privacy of the citizens from all the apps and organisations operating in India which collect user data.
European users, on the other hand, have the option to opt out of the policy and they would not be denied access to the app if they do so, the petition has said.
It has sought a direction to WhatsApp to roll back its new policy or in the alternative provide an option to the users, including those who have already agreed to it, to opt out of the same.
The petitioners have also sought a direction to the government to formulate social media intermediary guidelines.
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