On January 4, WhatsApp, California based Facebook Inc owned messenger app, said that it has reserved the right to share some user data, including location and phone number with Facebook and its other units Instagram and Messenger. The users are to accept all the policy changes till February 8 or their accounts would be deactivated. The ‘full or void’ approach by WhatsApp has already initiated exodus of its users to other platforms like Telegram and Signal.
India, which has over 400 million users of the app, are outraged by the move which threatens the user privacy.
The petition filed in Delhi High Court said, “Whatsapp was jeopardizing national security by sharing, transmitting and storing user data in another country with the information thus governed by foreign laws.”
The petition added, “This type of arbitrary behaviour and browbeating cannot be accepted in a democracy and is completely ‘ultra vires’ (beyond its powers) and against the fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution of India.”
The hearing is scheduled for Friday in Delhi High Court.
WhatsApp hasn’t commented on the petition filed. However, it had released clarifications following outrage that explained that the updated policies would only be applicable to business accounts and not personal accounts related to interaction with friends and family.
Various start-up founders in India have criticized the move by WhatsApp of updating its data sharing policy. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of Paytm, India’s most valuable startup, has accused WhatsApp of operating in double standards, citing policy differentiation in Europe and rest of the world. It is to be noted that European users will not be affected by the updated terms and conditions, and would not have to share data with Facebook.