Thursday , February 22 2018

Delhi HC orders WhatsApp to delete User data in India

Delhi HC orders WhatsApp to delete User Data in India

Recently the Delhi High Court asked WhatsApp to delete all data of the people who have deleted the app from their phone. This direction of the High Court of Delhi strengthens the privacy in favor of the citizens.

Previously there had been a debate whether it is important to make privacy regulations stricter or not. Keeping in line with the same concerns, the court asked TRAI to decide whether messaging apps should be regulated or not. If this regulation is maintained then it will be in favor of the privacy of the citizens.

Delhi HC orders WhatsApp to delete User Info

It must not be ignored that recently there was a big security hack in WhatsApp leading to leakage of chats. This meant that anyone could read anyone’s chat by just adding the victim’s phone number on the hack. Incidents like this increase the privacy concerns even more.

Why was the case with the HC anyway?

Recently WhatsApp has made a change in its privacy policy. As we all know that WhatsApp is now with Facebook. Hence all the chat details and the other details of the user will be now shared with Facebook. This was the reason why it has been imperative to keep a check on the privacy policy of the app now.

A petition was filed by Shreya Sethi and Karmanya Singh Sareen on August 25th. But users as of now have until 25th September to agree to the privacy policy. Right now Facebook can show you friend suggestions based on your WhatsApp contacts list. However, you can choose not to update that feature.

But it is a given that after 25th September, Facebook and WhatsApp will share user information with each other, which has raised many to question  the privacy issues that this will bring forth.

How will this decision of HC affect the future?

This decision of the HC has many people react in many ways. Many have stated the truth when they have said how this will affect the policy –

  • It will surely make a dent in WhatsApp’s privacy policy and the company might have to change its privacy policy to accommodate the directions given by the court.
  • It will create a concern among people that in future their privacy might face a threat. That their data can be shared with Facebook via WhatsApp will be known.
  • It will also make people aware of their personal rights and privacy policies. It will spread awareness about the privacy policy and the issues regarding internet rights.

How will this judgment be effective?

As per the court’s directions, WhatsApp will have to remove any information regarding the person in their database. They will have to completely remove this information and not share them with Facebook or any third party before doing so. This should be done if the person has deactivated and removed their account from the App.

Also, the court said that the messaging app couldn’t share any information of individuals with Facebook before 25th September. So those who want not to share their information with Facebook can delete their account on the app until 25th September.

What does WhatsApp really do with your information?

WhatsApp says that it does not usually retain all the information or messages on its servers even after the accounts are deleted, but it only does so in some special cases. It said that it does so only if the information could improve performance. For example, if people are sharing a photo or a video, WhatsApp will hold that information on their servers for a long time.

They have also said that if a user does not press “delete my account” on their app before uninstalling it, such information may be held inside for a long time.

Overview

A few more things –

Serial No. Info Data
1 IFF stands for Internet Freedom Foundation
2 Chairman of TRAI RS Sharma
3 WhatsApp acquired by Facebook on 2014

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