WhatsApp Treating Indians Differently Than European Users: Centre Tells Court

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New Delhi: The central government told the Delhi High Court on Monday that WhatsApp has been treating Indian users differently than Europeans over opting out of its new privacy policy. That is a matter of concern for the government, and is looking into the issue.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma submitted that Indian users were being “unilaterally” subjected to change in privacy policy by the instant messaging platform, reported NDTV.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva was hearing a petition against the new privacy policy of Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

“It is not mandatory to download it (WhatsApp). Every other app has similar terms and conditions regarding sharing of user information with others,” the court reiterated and asked why the petitioner was challenging WhatsApp policy.

ASG Sharma argued that WhatsApp appears to be treating Indian users with an “all or nothing approach” by not giving them the option of opting out of sharing data with other companies of Facebook.

“This differential treatment is certainly a cause of concern for the government. It is also a matter of concern for the government that Indian users are being unilaterally subjected to the changes in the privacy policy,” the ASG told the court.

Although the issue was between two private parties — WhatsApp and its users — the scope and expanse of WhatsApp “make it a germane ground that reasonable and cogent policies are put in place which is being done by the Personal Data Protection Bill and discussions are very much on.”

The court set the next hearing for the on March 1.

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