WhatsApp puts its new privacy policy on hold

WhatsApp told the Delhi High Court that the messaging app will not enforce its privacy policies until the Personal Data Protection Bill comes into force.

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WhatsApp Messenger on Friday told the Delhi High Court that it would not enforce its updated privacy policies until the Personal Data Protection Bill coming into force. Appearing for WhatsApp and Facebook, senior counsel Harish Salve informed the high court that the new privacy policies were on hold.

Whatsapp also clarified before the bench of Chief justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh that it would not limit the functionality for users who are not opting for a new privacy policy in the meantime.

“The government has asked to shut down the policy. We have said we will not enforce it till the data protection bill is passed. That is open-ended because we don’t know when the Bill is going to come out,” Harish Salve during the hearing at the Delhi High Court.

Harish Salve further told the Delhi High Court: “We have said we will not do this [enforce policy] for a while. Suppose the Bill allows me to do it, we will have completely different ramifications.”

Harish Salve said, “We voluntarily agreed to put it (the policy) on hold… we will not compel people to accept.”

Harish Salve said, “The MeitY [Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology] feels WhatsApp’s privacy policy is against Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules 2011,”

The IT ministry has pointed to WhatsApp that the policy followed by them was the discriminatory treatment of Indian users when compared to those in Europe where one did not have compulsorily accept the new policy.

WhatsApp’s privacy policy was first announced in January and the initial roll-out was scheduled for February but, the platform delayed it till May 15, citing concerns around it. WhatsApp had said that it will use these three months to educate users and make them understand that their data is still safe.

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