The journey of this PIL will provide an account of how the PIL system works in India.
What’s new in this case?
The government has indicated that it will be exploring some sort of regulations to protect the data privacy of consumers in India. A PTI report quoted Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta as saying, “We are coming out with a regulatory regime on data protection. Freedom of choice needs to be protected and there cannot be any doubt over it.”
The petitioners want
the issue of online privacy and asks for the state to step in ,petition states ““It is also the responsibility of the State to guarantee and ensure the protection of the personal and private data and information of these millions of citizens, when they use such modes of communications to engage in conversations and exchange private and confidential data and information. Petition also points out that in India with the internet gaining so many users, more and more people are coming online and using these applications. since such services are still relatively new, there is no statutory or regulatory framework / mechanism in place in order to ensure that these services comply with the scheme of regulations envisaged for other such telecommunication services – including the protective features thereof.”
Whatsapp fit in this
According to a PTI report, senior advocate Harish Salve, who is appearing for the petitioners, argued in court that someone could snoop into the messages shared by users. However, WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, and technically no third-party can read the messages. But as the report notes, Salve also questioned encryption method and argued, “Privacy has multiple dimensions.
Facebook and whatsapp response
The Merger Agreement
On febreuary19, 2014 facebook,Inc(parent’) enter into an Agreement and plan of Merger and Reorganization (the Merger Agreement) with Rhodium Acquisition Sub II ,Inc., a Delaware corporation and wholly owned (in part directly and in part indirectly) subsidiary of Parent (“Acquirer”), Rhodium Merger Sub, Inc., a Delaware corporation, a direct wholly owned subsidiary of Acquirer (“Merger Sub”), WhatsApp Inc., a Delaware corporation (“WhatsApp”), and Fortis Advisors LLC, as the stockholders’ agent.Terms of this agreement is
- merger Sub will merge with and into whatsApp and upon consummation of the first merger, Merger sub will cease to exist and whatsApp will become a wholly Owned subsidiary of acquirer.
- The Merger Agreement contains customary representations, warranties and covenants by Parent and WhatsApp.
Failure of the agreement
The only reason to change this policy was to improve the quality of service provided by whatsapp and the facebook and also provide facebook with better data for targeted advertising
The two millennial (student) are ,first is Karmanya Singh Sareen (Son of additional Socitor Maninder Singh and senior advocate Pratibha M.singh and the second is sherya is the daughter of senior advocate sandeep sethi.
The student spent a day analysing the new privacy and created comparative charts between the old and the new policies before approaching Senior advocate Pratibha Singh for advice , the research in this place, the student also create a rough draft of the PIL,which Singh went through.
The PIL (Public Interest litigation) filed
“the old policy explicitly mentioned a heading called “Data we do not collect” and said that we don’t collect content of messages . the new policy however as a heading called “data e collect and mention sontent. It also says they retain popular photos for a longer time but what is a longer time is not defined anywhere. The company can use data as they see fit” says sethi.
Sareen also says the new policy as “branch of trust” for the user who had “got on the app on its pro privacy platform”. With the HC whatsapp to delet all data collected prior to September 25, when the new privacy is set to come into effect, the student say that the judgment is a right step toward protecting data privacy
Herring in the Supreme Court
Ideally the Supreme Court should have dismissed the appeal, preferably with costs because the Delhi High Court had provided very valid reasons for dismissing the PIL. However, strange things happen in the Supreme Court these days. Court says that Yet within two paragraphs, of the above statement admitting that it lacks jurisdiction, the court makes a leap of logic by passing three orders – the first restraining Whatsapp from sharing with Facebook the information of users who deleted their account, the second restraining Whatsapp from sharing information, from before September 25, of those users who continued with Whatsapp and the third, directions to the government to consider a regulatory framework for services such as Whatsapp.