The court repeated what it had said on January 18, at the beginning of the hearing, that WhatsApp was a private app and it was optional to download it or not.
“It is not mandatory to download it. Every other app has similar terms and conditions regarding sharing of user information with others,” the court said and wondered why the complainant questioned WhatsApp’s rules.
The court also noted that Parliament was debating the Personal Data Privacy Bill and the government was looking into concerns presented in the plea.
ASG Sharma told the court during the hearing that WhatsApp prima facie seems to be handling users with a “all or nothing approach” by not offering Indian users the opportunity to opt out of sharing their data with other Facebook firms.
This leverages WhatsApp’s social significance to push users into a deal that may breach their personal privacy and information security rights,”This leverages the social significance of WhatsApp to force users into a bargain which may infringe on their interests in information privacy and information security,”
He also told the court that while the problem was between two private entities – WhatsApp and its users – the reach and scope 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”
Sharma said the government was already investigating the problem and sent WhatsApp a message requesting some details.
Kapil Sibal, senior advocate, appearing for WhatsApp, told the court that the correspondence was received and will be replied.
Thereafter, on March 1, the court cited the matter for hearing.
Users can either approve it or leave the software under the current rules, but they can not choose not to share their data with other apps owned by Facebook or third parties.