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Indian Students Won the case Against WhatsApp Privacy Policy

Few days back, we reported that two Indian students - Shreya Sethi and Karmanya Singh Sareenhave had sued Facebook for WhatsApp's new privacy policy and asked for a complete rollback of the recent policy updates.

Now, in a recent update the two students have been successful in making the Facebook owned messaging service WhatsApp not to share its users' data with Facebook as it had initially planned.

While there was some initial resistance from WhatsApp, it finally decided to comply with Delhi high court's order to completely delete all the data of users who choose to opt out of it.

According to a spokesperson of the company,“WhatsApp will comply with the order from the Delhi High Court. We plan to proceed with the privacy policy and terms update in accordance with the Court’s order." In addition to this, the company also welcomed the Delhi High Court's emphasis on the importance of user content and choice. While WhatsApp agreed to comply with the HC order, it hasn't yet confirmed whether it has already deleted all the data or has at least started the process of deleting the data.

While on one hand WhatsApp hasn't given any details about the information deletion process. On the other hand, it is also important to note that even the HC hasn't specified any date by which the company should do away with the data.

According to the High Court's ruling, "If the users opt for completely deleting “WhatsApp” account before 25.09.2016, the information/data/details of such users should be W.P.(C) No.7663/2016 Page 15 of 15 deleted completely from “WhatsApp” servers and the same shall not be shared with the “Facebook” or any one of its group companies… So far as the users who opt to remain in “WhatsApp” are concerned, the existing information/data/details of such users upto 25.09.2016 shall not be shared with “Facebook” or any one of its group companies.”

The instant messaging app service which was in the news earlier this year for starting end-to-end encryption is looking to use its users' information, such as phone numbers, online status, log-records, etc with Facebook so as to improve their experience of the social networking platform.

Prior to the Delhi HC order, a division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal had said on 23rd September that WhatsApp will not be sharing its users' data collected under its old privacy policy over the years up to September 25, 2016, with its parent company Facebook or any other company related to it.

Last month, Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, two Indian students, had filed a public-interest litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court asking for a complete rollback of the recent policy updates made by WhatsApp. They contested that Indian government needs to come up with its own guidelines for the various messaging apps being currently used in the country so that the privacy of millions of their users isn’t compromised.

The Delhi HC has asked WhatsApp to completely delete all the data of its users who choose to opt out of the instant messaging app after its new privacy policy came into force. The court has also asked WhatsApp to delete its users’ data up to 25th September 2016, including the ones who choose not to opt out of the instant messaging application and decide to comply with the new privacy policy.

It isn't just in India that WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook are facing trouble over their new data-sharing policy. They're also facing problem in Germany where the company's Privacy watchdog has ordered Facebook to delete whatever data it has received from WhatsApp till now. Unlike India, Germany has strict data privacy laws in play.

[Top Image - focal point / Shutterstock.com]

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