Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for WhatsApp, told the Delhi High Court that the company has responded to a notice by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology seeking a response.
Salve submitted before a Division Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Jyoti Singh that WhatsApp will not limit functionality for some time and continue to show users the updates until the Data Protection Bill becomes law.
“We have voluntarily agreed to put an update on hold till then,” said Salve.
The court said that there was an allegation that WhatsApp wants to collect data and give it to others with the new privacy update, saying such things cannot be done.
The court also wanted to know whether there was a difference between the messaging platform’s policy in India and Europe.
In his response, Salve said, the inquiry is currently over the update, and the messaging app will not do anything if the parliamentary law comes into force.
Appearing for Facebook, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi submitted that Facebook is only the parent company of WhatsApp and has been involved in the matter for nothing.
The court has adjourned the matter for July 30 for further hearing.
But Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi, who represented the Competition Commission of India, had told the court that the issue is not of privacy but access to data.
India’s existing law called the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011, or SPDI does not forbid service firms like WhatsApp from collecting personal data.
Companies can collect data by getting express consent from the user. The pending legislation, when enforced, will have a high degree of specificity in its language so that certain operations and practices related to data are clearly defined by law.
(With inputs from ANI)
(Edited by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Krishna Kakani. Map by Urvashi Makwana.)
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