To that, a bench comprising of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, referring to Facebook and WhatsApp, said: they may be $2-3 trillion companies, but people value their privacy more than money and that it is the court’s duty to protect user privacy.
Currently, both WhatsApp and Facebook are still maintaining their stance about doing no harm to user data and have refuted allegations of data sharing.
A senior lawyer Kapil Sibal who appeared for WhatsApp told the court that the WhatsApp policy is applicable everywhere expect the European Union which happens to fall under the governance of a special law.
This recent summoning by the Supreme Court is related to an application which was filed by Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi in their long-pending case before a constitution bench which challenged WhatsApp’s 2016 user policy.
The application mentioned that WhatsApp is treating Indian users as ‘second class citizens’ as there is currently exists a regulatory vacuum in India which, in turn, is rendering an Indian citizen’s personal data/information vulnerable to being commercialised by corporations who obtain user-consent by being highly unambiguous and without providing a crystal clear explanation,
Lastly, the application alleged WhatsApp of global discrimination which is detrimental to Indian citizens and thus it deserves to be injected by appropriated orders passed by the court.
The advocate for the petitioners Gaurav Sharma highlighted to the Supreme Court that the company has different policies for India and European countries as the privacy protection is a lot stricter in the later and that is something which should not be tolerated.
It now remains to be seen, how will the social media behemoth navigate the extremely tumultuous situation it has found itself. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.