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WhatsApp privacy policy on hold till law is framed

Topics Covered: Cybersecurity related issues.

WhatsApp privacy policy on hold till law is framed:


Context:

WhatsApp recently told Delhi High Court it will not compel users to opt for new privacy policy till data protection bill comes into force.

 

What’s the issue?

The court is hearing the appeals of Facebook and its firm WhatsApp against the single-judge order refusing to stop the competition regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI)‘s order directing a probe into WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.

 

Background:

  • WhatsApp has drawn massive criticism from users globally, including India, over concerns that data was being shared with its parent company, Facebook.
  • WhatsApp, on its part, has maintained that messages on the platform are end-to-end encrypted and that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see the private messages on WhatsApp”s platform.

 

Personal Data Protection Bill:

  1. The Bill, under consideration, seeks to regulate the use of an individual’s data by the government and private companies.
  2. While entities will have to maintain security safeguards to protect personal data, they will also have to fulfill a set of data protection obligations and transparency and accountability measures.
  3. The Bill seeks to give users a set of rights over their personal data and means to exercise those rights.
  4. The Bill seeks to create an independent and powerful regulator known as the Data Protection Authority (DPA). The DPA will monitor and regulate data processing activities to ensure their compliance with the regime.

 

Why was a Bill brought for personal data protection?

  1. In August 2017, the Supreme Court  held that privacy is a fundamental right, flowing from the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  2. The Court also observed that privacy of personal data and facts is an essential aspect of the right to privacy.
  3. In July 2017, a Committee of Experts, chaired by Justice B. N. Srikrishna, was set up to examine various issues related to data protection in India.
  4. The Committee submitted its report, along with a Draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in July 2018.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Right to Privacy?
  2. Key features of the Bill.
  3. About WhatsApp’s privacy policy.

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with WhatsApp’s privacy policy.

Sources: the Hindu.