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Don’t Join WhatsApp, Use a Different App if Terms Not Acceptable, Says Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Monday said that accepting the new privacy policy of instant messaging app WhatsApp was a “voluntary” thing and one can choose to not join the platform if one did not agree with its terms and conditions. The court also said that if the terms and conditions of most mobile apps are read, “you would be surprised as to what all you are consenting to”.  

“Even Google Maps captures all your data and stores it,” the court said.

“It is a private app. Don’t join it. It is a voluntary thing, don’t accept it. Use some other app,” Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said to the petitioner, a lawyer, who has challenged WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, which was earlier slated to come into effect in February but has now been deferred till May.

The court further said it could not understand what data would be leaked according to the petitioner and since the issue requires consideration, it will be listed on January 25 due to paucity of time on Monday.

The central government also agreed with the court that the issue needs to be analysed.  
WhatsApp and Facebook, represented by senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Mukul Rohatgi, told the court that the plea was not maintainable and many of the issues raised in it were without any foundation. They further told the court that private chat messages between family and friends would remain encrypted and cannot be stored by WhatsApp and this position would not change under the new policy.

The change in policy would only affect the business chats on WhatsApp, they said.

The petition has contended that the updated privacy policy violates users’ right to privacy under the Constitution. The plea has claimed that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp allows full access into a user’s online activity without there being any supervision by the government.


Does WhatsApp’s new privacy policy spell the end for your privacy? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.


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