You may be trillion dollar company, but users’ privacy important: SC to WhatsApp

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today told social media firm Facebook and its messaging app, WhatsApp, that it will have to intervene to protect people’s privacy in the wake of the latter’s new policy in this regard.

Issuing a notice to the Centre, along with the two platforms, the court is now set examine the popular service’s fresh course on this front.

The top court sought responses from the Centre and messaging app WhatsApp within four weeks on a fresh plea alleging lower standards of privacy for Indians than European users.

The apex court asked WhatsApp to intervene and protect privacy of its users. It said that people have grave apprehensions about losing their privacy, and it is our duty to protect them.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde issued notice to the government and the Facebook-owned app on an interim application filed by Karmanya Singh Sareen in a pending petition of 2017.

“You (Facebook and WhatsApp) may be two or three trillion (dollar) company. But people value their privacy. It is our duty and we have to protect people’s privacy,” the Supreme Court said today.

“People have great apprehension over loss of privacy,” Chief Justice of India Sharad A Bobde said. “People think that if somebody messages to someone then…the whole thing is disclosed to Facebook.”

Both Facebook and WhatsApp, through their counsel Kapil Sibal and Arvind datar, respectively, told the court that such fears were not based in reality.

WhatsApp told the top court that Europe has a special law on privacy and it will also follow if India has a similar statute.

The Centre told the apex court that the social media apps cannot share data of users and data must be protected.


NT Bureau