WhatsApp may retain some of the user’s data
The Centre made the request on Friday, March 19, 2021.
In the policy, WhatsApp asks users to consent to sharing their data with Facebook by February 8, 2021. Otherwise, their accounts would be deleted.
However, due to huge backlash from WhatsApp users, the platform put its policy on hold until May 15, 2021.
In an affidavit from the Centre, they said:
Also, the policy does not guarantee further non-disclosure by third parties.
The Ministry also said that WhatsApp has used “extremely general terms” to list the kinds of data being collected.
The Ministry said:
“This is also the case for other Facebook companies, who are allowed to review and share information about the user from and with WhatsApp.”
According to the Ministry, the policy must allow users to edit their personal information, which it currently does not.
“If a user exercises this option, the policy clearly mentions that ‘your undelivered messages are deleted from our servers as well as any of other information we no longer need to operate and provide our services’.”
Therefore, the Ministry added that WhatsApp may retain some of the user’s data even after their account has been deleted.
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) put before the Delhi HC seeking guidelines to protect the privacy and data of WhatsApp users.
Dr Seema Singh of Noida, and Meghan and Vikram Singh of Delhi, filed the petition.
They argue that the fissures in law with regard to the data are “quite conspicuous”. Therefore, a framework to regulate the same is needed.
In its reply, the Centre said that they have introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.
Upon becoming a law, the Bill will provide a robust regime on data protection “which will limit the ability of the entities such as WhatsApp issuing privacy policies which do not align with appropriate standards of security and data protection”.
Following the Centre’s request to the HC, the hearing in the case is adjourned to April 20, 2021.