Counter Affidavit in the WhatsApp’s Private Policy 2021 case

In the case od WhatsApp’s private policy 2021 a counter affidavit has been filed by the Center in the Delhi High Court. The center complained that WhatsApp has been using ‘Trick Consent’ in order to obtain consent to its private policy 2021 from its consumers. The center added that in order to achieve its goal WhatsApp has been sending “Push Notifications” in order to stop this activity the center has sought for an order to restrain WhatsApp from sending such notifications.The government added that users who had not contented to their privacy policy were being bombarded with those notifications on regular basis. They added that this was being done to get their existing user base to give their consent before the enforcement of Personal Data Protection (Bill) which would be a prevailing law in this subject.

They accused Respondent 2 (WhatsApp) of sending the notifications to the existing users as a game plan so that their policy is accepted before the PDP (bill) which would be the law is passed. The Affidavit hence requested for a detailed investigation in the subject.The government also brought into light the prima facie opinion of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) stating that Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002 had been contravened by WhatsApp. Through the affidavit the center also stated the decision of the CCI was upheld by the single judge bench of the High Court when it was challenged. In the affidavit a communication was mentioned which was sent by the center to WhatsApp on 18th May 2021 which stated that, “Postponement of the privacy policy beyond 15thMay, 2021 does not release WhatsApp from the obligation of respecting the values of informational privacy, data security and the choice of the Indian users. The manner of introducing the changes and the changes like including FAQ harms the rights and interests of the Indian citizens. Leveraging your position to impose unfair terms and conditions when you are aware that many Indian citizens use WhatsApp for communication in the everyday life is irresponsible.”When a PIL was filed WhatsApp told the court the citizens either had an option to consent to the policy or stop using the App as there was no option for opting out.

The government claimed that WhatsApp has also violated Information Technology Rules, 2011 and hence they shall be restrained from implementing their new policy till the time the challenge to the validity of the policy is decided.

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