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WhatsApp Privacy Policy: New Data Protection Bill to be ready soon; SC criticises the govt. for delay

WhatsApp Privacy Policy: On Thursday, the Center informed the Supreme Court that the process is underway to draft a new data protection law. The govt. also stated that “The rights of citizens are sacrosanct and must be protected.”

The issue involving WhatsApp’s 2021 Privacy Policy was being heard by a five-judge constitution bench under the leadership of Justice KM Joseph. The government has already withdrawn the previous data protection bill, according to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is representing the Center before the court, and a new bill will be tabled in the Parliament shortly.

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Shyam Divan, a senior advocate, told the bench that, “Indian users are deprived of their fundamental rights. The same platform operating in other countries, especially in the European Union, has higher standards of privacy and those standards are not prevalent in India.”

Responding to the statement, Tushar Mehta told the bench that, “The government is alive to the situation and making of the bill is under process. It’s a legislative issue rather than a judicial issue. So we should be given some for that.”

Questioning Mehta, Justice Joseph asked, “If this matter is pending for so many years and if the government had wanted to bring some legislation it could have done it so far, why wait?”

Kapil Sibal draws out the difference amongst Indian and European Laws

Meanwhile, Kapil Sibal told the bench that while presenting for WhatsApp, “WhatsApp Privacy Policy is tight. The privacy issue should be applicable to other platforms also. European Countries have their own set of laws which are applied there. In India, we follow the present law. It has investment issues and has a commercial angle and has very far-reaching consequences.”

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The bench responded to Sibal by saying, “We are here to secure the rights of the users.” Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General, concurred with the judgement of the bench and said, “If a platform is operating in India it should be seen citizen centric and we had seen certain cases where privacy is being violated.”

Mehta was referring to the Karnataka High Court case in which Twitter was sued by the Center. The government has been requested to pass a law by January 17th, 2023. The final hearing for the case, too, will be held on the same date.

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