The most popular instant messaging platform WhatsApp opposed a plea in Delhi High Court alleging that the privacy of its users has been threatened by a new policy announced by Facebook, saying regulations were in place and the latter does not have access to any data as it provides end-to-end encryption.
The proposed submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, who were hearing a PIL against WhatsApp’s recent decision to share user data with parent company Facebook. Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for WhatsApp, said there are government regulations in place and the application does not share user’s private messages, contents, photos or data with Facebook. He said WhatsApp only shares a user’s name and the phone number with Facebook. “WhatsApp does not have access to any data as it provides end-to-end encryption”.
“We only have access to the person’s name and number which is also obtained by online consent. We are abiding by the central government’s regulations for messenger apps. We are not dealing with sensitive information at all. And if any of the users wants to opt out of the new policy, he/she cannot be forced to not choose that option”. Luthra added.
After hearing the justifications, the court asked WhatsApp to file a short affidavit before September 20 explaining the accurate position with a view to the concerns raised in the writ petition.