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WhatsApp obtaining ‘trick consent’ for its new privacy policy, indulging in 'anti-user practices': Centre tells Delhi HC

WhatsApp privacy policy: The Central government has asked the Delhi HC to issue an interim order to WhatsApp asking it to desist from forcing its users in India to accept its new terms and conditions.

WhatsApp WhatsApp
WhatsApp (REUTERS)

WhatsApp privacy policy: The Central government last month had told the Delhi High Court that it viewed WhatsApp privacy policy update as a violation of Indian IT laws. The government had also informed the HC that it had written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg informing him about the issue. At the time, the Delhi HC had deferred the matter for hearing on June 3.

Now, in a fresh affidavit filed today, the Centre told the high court that WhatsApp was indulging in ‘anti-user practices’ that were aimed at obtaining ‘trick consent’ for its new privacy policy. The Centre also told the Delhi High Court that WhatsApp had ‘unleashed its digital prowess’ to the users and that it was forcing them to accept its new terms and conditions by showing them notifications for the same regularly.

ANI reports that the central government in its affidavit also purported that WhatsApp wanted its users in India to accept its updated policy before the Personal Data Protection (PDP) bill became a law. It also said that the notifications that WhatsApp was sending its users, both new and old, is ‘against the very grain of prima facie opinion of the Competition Commission of India’s order dated March 24, 2021.’

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Now, the Centre has asked the HC to issue an interim order to WhatsApp asking it to desist from forcing its users in India to accept its new terms and conditions. It has also asked WhatsApp to place on record the rate at which its notifications converted into users accepting its updated privacy policy. WhatsApp, on the other hand, has asked the Delhi HC to dismiss the petition.

The matter was adjourned for hearing until June 22 as the concerned bench did not assemble for the hearing on Thursday.

Separately, Facebook CEO has confirmed three new features that will be coming to WhatsApp soon. Zuckerberg said that it is planning to roll out a new feature called disappear mode on WhatsApp that will turn on disappearing messages in all chats in the messaging app. WhatsApp is also planning to roll out a feature called ‘View Once’ in the app that will make content disappear after the recipient has seen it once. Lastly, Facebook is also planning to roll out multi-device support on WhatsApp. It will be available for testing in the public beta mode in two months.

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