WhatsApp obtaining trick consent: Centre tells HC
June 03, 2021  12:01
The Centre in a fresh affidavit on Thursday, told the Delhi High Court that the messaging app WhatsApp is indulging in 'anti-users practices' by obtaining 'trick consent' for its updated privacy policy.

The Centre submitted before Delhi HC that WhatsApp has 'unleashed its digital prowess' to unsuspecting users and wanted to force them to accept the updated 2021 privacy policy by flashing the notification at regular intervals. The game plan is very clear, the Centre said, adding that Whatsapp intended to transfer its entire existing user base committed to the updated privacy policy before the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill becomes the law.

The Centre also submitted that the current notification, as being pushed by WhatsApp on its users, whether existing or new, is 'against the very grain of prima facie opinion of the Competition Commission of India's order dated 24/03/2021'.

The Centre has urged the Delhi High Court to issue interim direction to WhatsApp to desist from any action of 'pushing notifications' onto existing users related to the updated privacy policy and to place on record the number of times such notifications, as on date, are being pushed on an everyday basis.

It has also asked Whatsapp to place on record the conversion rate, i.e. notification to acceptance of the privacy policy.The response of the Centre came after several petitions were filed against WhatsApp's updated privacy policy. 

One of was filed by Dr Seema Singh, Meghan and Vikram Singh seeking directions to the Union of India to order Whatsapp Inc to either roll back their policy or provide an option to opt out of the January 4 privacy policy.

In its reply, WhatsApp said that the messaging app was not forcing anyone to accept the update and its privacy policy is not mandatory.In a fresh affidavit, WhatsApp said that the 2021 update is a contract between private parties that users are free to accept or reject. 

Accordingly, WhatsApp submitted that the petitioner's attempt to invoke writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to challenge the 2021 Update - a private contract - is impermissible and abuse of writ jurisdiction. WhatsApp has urged the Delhi High Court to dismiss the petition challenging its updated privacy policy.

The concerned bench did not assemble on Thursday and the matter was adjourned for July 22 for further hearing. 
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