WhatsApp Refutes Charges Of Privacy Breach Of Users’ Data

by CXOtoday News Desk    Sep 15, 2016


Responding to a petition on its new privacy policy in the Delhi High Court, the instant messaging platform WhatsApp on Wednesday refuted the allegation of sharing user’s details with Facebook. WhatsApp told HC that it does not have access to any data as it provides end-to-end encryption.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for WhatsApp, said there are government regulations in place and the application does not share users private messages, contents, photos or data with Facebook.

WhatsApp had made extensive changes to its privacy policy on August 25, the first time since it was acquired by Facebook, giving users the option of sharing their account information with the social network giant. The messaging service gave its users 30 days till September 25 to opt out of the policy.

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,” PTI report published in ET quoted Luthra as saying. 

“If any of the user wants to opt out of the new policy, he/she cannot be forced to not choose that option”, he added. 

Also Read: Here’s Why Google, FB, WhatsApp Enhancing Encryption

However, senior advocate Pratibha M Singh, appearing for petitioners Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, argued the messaging service was sharing the entire data with Facebook even if users opt out of the new policy.

The petitioners, have alleged that WhatsApp, Facebook Inc and Facebook India Online Pvt Ltd’s new private policy “compromises the rights of its users”, which is also a “very serious breach of policy”.

The 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. The court has asked WhatsApp to file a short affidavit before September 20 explaining the factual position with regard to the concerns raised in the writ petition.