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SC directs Facebook, Whatsapp to file affidavit on data sharing policy

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New Delhi: Facebook-owned WhatsApp told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it did not share any user data with third parties except the user’s telephone number, device details, device registration number and ‘last seen’ (on WhatsApp) details.

Tushar Mehta, additional solicitor general appearing for the Centre, submitted that the Centre was in the process of devising a data protection law which would comprehensively address all issues.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra did not pass an order but directed WhatsApp to file an affidavit giving details of what user data it shared with third parties and other entities within four weeks.

Counsel for petitioners, K.V. Vishwanathan and Madhavi Divan highlighted the problems of sharing of metadata and sought the messaging company to be restrained from sharing any details until the data protection law was in place.

Former chief justice J.S. Khehar had said in April that a five-judge bench would first decide if the case is related to privacy and determine if WhatsApp’s user data sharing policy is violative of the right to privacy.

With a nine-judge Constitution bench holding privacy as a fundamental right on 24 August, the debate over data sharing gained momentum as the ruling discussed and recognized informational privacy as an aspect of the right to privacy.

 

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