A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal of the Delhi High Court questioned internet-based messaging service WhatsApp on Wednesday whether user information would be retained by it after deletion of account.
The bench was hearing arguments on a petition filed by users of the service against changes to WhatApp’s data sharing policy. The changed policy is expected to come into force on September 25 and proposes to share user information with its parent company Facebook.
Senior counsel Siddharth Luthra, representing WhatsApp, said platform would not keep user data on its servers, in case accounts are deleted.
The public interest litigation seeks to restrain WhatsApp from implementing the revised policy, which according to the petitioners unilaterally compromises the privacy rights of users by seeking consent for sharing information.
The users have sought that directions be issued to the authorities concerned to ensure data privacy by framing appropriate rules to regulate such services.
Luthra also said a message is deleted from the company’s server after it is delivered to a recipient and may be kept for up to 30 days, only in case the communication is not received.
Senior advocate Pratibha Singh, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, questioned WhatsApp’s intentions by highlighting contradictions between its oral and written representations.
“To improve performance and deliver media messages more efficiently, such as when many people are sharing a popular photo or video, WhatsApp may retain that content on its servers for a longer period of time,” the messaging platform had stated in an affidavit filed earlier in court.
The bench has listed the matter for September 23.