“This differential treatment is a matter of concern for the government,” said the ASG.
“The government is also concerned with how Indian users have been subjected to these changes in a very unilateral way. By not providing Indian users with the ability to opt out of sharing this data with other Facebook companies, WhatsApp appears to be treating Indian users with an all-or-nothing approach, ”said ASG Sharma.
This, said Mr Sharma, may infringe on Indian users’ interest in the privacy and security of information.
Although the issue “is between two private parties,” said Sharma, “the scope and extent of WhatsApp makes it a pertinent foundation that reasonable and convincing policies are put in place, which is being done by the Personal Data Protection Act ”.
“The Personal Data Protection Bill is being discussed by the Joint Committee of Parliament,” added Sharma.
Hearing postponed to March 1
Taking note of the fact that the matter is being examined at the highest level, Minister Sanjeev Sachdeva suspended the hearing of the case for March 1, through which the Center will record the progress of the matter.
In the meantime, Judge Sachdeva refused to grant petitioner Manohar Lal’s request to issue notice to WhatsApp.
Subsequently, on January 16, WhatsApp accessed the microblogging site Twitter to clarify that, “No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8 and we will postpone our business plans until after May”.
“WhatsApp scoffed at our fundamental right to privacy when performing a public function in India, in addition to compromising the national security of that country by sharing, transmitting and storing user data in another country and that data, in turn, being governed by the laws of that foreign country ”, said the petition.