Exploring ways to protect freedom of choice on Whatsapp: Centre to SC

New Delhi : The Central Government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it is exploring “ways and means” to protect ‘individual’s freedom of choice’ in regard to WhatsApp data sharing with social sites like Facebook.

A bench of the apex court headed by Justice Dipak Misra posted the matter for further hearing till May 15.

The bench was hearing one of the pleas, including that of Karmanya Singh Sareen seeking a direction to protect individual’s freedom of expression and choice.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi earlier told a five-judge constitution bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was in the process of evolving the data protection framework.

Earlier on January 17, the apex court issued notice to WhatsApp and the Central Government on the data privacy.

The court also agreed to examine as to whether Facebook’s access to details of calls, messages, photographs and documents exchanged by the users of WhatsApp violated the citizens’ right to privacy.

Earlier, the instant messaging platform had said that its new privacy policy does not infringe on the privacy of users and no third party can read the messages due to its end-to-end encryption. When a user deletes his or her WhatsApp account, the information is no longer retained on its servers, the company had claimed before the Delhi High Court.

A petition filed before the Supreme Court had claimed that there is no protection of data on Facebook and WhatsApp.

According to the petitioner, there are 157 million users on WhatsApp and Facebook, therefore the service provided by the social network and messaging app should be considered as a public utility service.

In September 2016, the Delhi High Court had ordered WhatsApp to delete the data of users who had deleted the messaging app from their devices. (ANI)