The Delhi High Court
Inc. (and affiliate entities).
The petition had sought to restrain the over-the-top (OTT) platform from implementing its modified policy, which according to the petitioners, unilaterally compromised the privacy rights of users by gaining consent for sharing of information in a surreptitious and deceptive manner.
The aggrieved users had also sought for directions to be issued to the centre and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to frame rules under the Information Technology Act 2000 to regulate such messaging services.
had earlier submitted in court, that the government did not have the power to regulate the conduct and policy decisions of OTT platforms such as Whatapp under the current legal structure.
Though Friday’s order upheld WhatsApp’s data sharing policy, the platform has been directed to erase all information, data and details of users who choose to delete their accounts. The bench has also prohibited the messaging service from sharing any data or information acquired till September 25, from users who decide to remain.
Additionally, the centre and TRAI
have also been directed to consider the issues raised in the petition and take measures to see if it is feasible to bring such OTT services under a statutory framework to protect the interests of users.
Unlike traditional telecom operators, there are currently no rules to regulate OTT platforms. The lack of guidelines on encryption standards for these entities, also have the potential to pose national
“This is a path-breaking judgment to protect the right to privacy. The court has passed this order because of the importance given by WhatsApp
to privacy in its own earlier policy,” said senior advocate Pratibha Singh, counsel for the petitioners, after the pronouncement was made by the court.