Privacy Policy: SC Asks WhatsApp, Facebook To File Affidavits

A five-judge constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, justices A K Sikri, Amitava Roy, A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar granted the companies time of four weeks to file affidavit. The bench said that it would examine their response and then decide whether interim order was required to be passed to restrain them from sharing the data with third party.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Arvind Datar, appearing for multi-national companies, denied the allegations of sharing of data with any third party. They said that only information regarding phone number, mobile device used, last access and their registration ID of WhatsApp users were shared with Facebook. They contended that two billion people used WhatsApp but none, except two students who filed petition, had made any complaint on violation of their privacy.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench at the outset of proceedings that an expert committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of former apex court judge Justice B N Srikrishna by Centre to identify key data protection issues in India and file a draft bill on data protection law. He pleaded the court defer the hearing till the Centre framed the law.

Agreeing with his submission, the bench deferred the hearing on a petition challenging WhatsApp 2016 privacy policy. It, however, said that the data of users should be protected in the interim period and asked the companies to give undertaking.

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