February 15, 2021: SC notice to WhatsApp on Monday seeking a response on its new policies, which have been implemented by giving the users an ultimatum to either continue using the app or uninstall it.
WhatsApp Messenger, or simply WhatsApp, is an American freeware, cross-platform centralized messaging and voice-over-IP (VoIP) service owned by Facebook, Inc. It allows users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations, and other content
WhatsApp was founded by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, former employees of Yahoo!, in 2009.
According to the new policy, user data like phone numbers, address books, pictures, and the contents of some messages will now be automatically shared with Facebook.
The new policy came into effect on February 8.
The new policy says: “As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, this family of companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings.”
What is data privacy?
Data privacy or information privacy is a branch of data security concerned with the proper handling of data – consent, notice, and regulatory obligations.
Importance of data privacy
In today’s era, privacy is of pivotal importance. Data breaches, security threats, and cybercrime can lead to negative and even harmful consequences, so it’s very important to comply with data privacy regulations.
When private data gets in the wrong hands, bad things can happen. A data breach at a government agency can, for example, put top-secret information in the hands of an enemy state. A breach at a corporation can put proprietary data in the hands of a competitor.
A breach at a school could put students’ PII in the hands of criminals who could commit identity theft. A breach at a hospital or doctor’s office can put PHI in the hands of those who might misuse it.
SC notice to WhatsApp on new policy
The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and WhatsApp within four weeks on a fresh plea alleging lower standards of privacy for Indians in comparison to European users of the messaging app.
“You may be a $2-3 trillion company but people’s privacy is more valuable for them and it is our duty to protect their privacy,” the top court told WhatsApp
The apex court said people value their privacy more than the value of the company which might be in trillions. The top court also said that it is our duty to protect them.
WhatsApp told the top court that Europe has a special law on privacy and it will also follow if India has a similar statute.