WhatsApp Making Users Accept Privacy Policy Through ‘Trick Consent’: Centre Tells Delhi HC

WhatsApp Making Users Accept Privacy Policy Through ‘Trick Consent’: Centre Tells Delhi HC

Highlights:

  • The Centre has asked the high court to grant an interim order prohibiting WhatsApp from sending ‘push notifications’ to users in connection to the updated 2021 privacy policy.
  • According to the central government, WhatsApp is gaining ‘trick consent’ from users for its updated privacy policy

In a new affidavit filed in the Delhi High Court on Thursday, the Centre said that WhatsApp is engaging in “anti-user practices” by obtaining “trick consent” for its revised privacy policy.

The Centre argued in front of the Delhi High Court that WhatsApp had “unleashed its digital prowess” on unsuspecting users and wanted to force them to accept the new privacy policy for 2021 by flashing the message at frequent intervals.

In the affidavit, the Centre requested that the high court issue an interim order ordering WhatsApp to stop sending “push notifications” to users regarding the updated privacy policy for 2021. It also requested that WhatsApp keep track of the number of times such notifications are sent each day as well as their conversion rate.

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“It is alleged that millions of existing WhatsApp users, who have not accepted the updated 2021 privacy policy, are being inundated with alerts on a daily basis,” the Centre stated in the affidavit. These notifications also go against the “very grain of the Competition Commission of India’s order.”

The Centre also claimed that WhatsApp’s current notifications to existing and new users are in violation of the “very grain of prima facie opinion of the Competition Commission of India’s order” of March 24.

WhatsApp amended its privacy policy earlier this year, stating that when a user interacts with a business account, the platform will share some data with its parent firm. The company first proposed it in January, stating that consumers who do not accept it will have their accounts erased, but it was postponed until May 15 due to customer and government backlash. A WhatsApp representative on May 14 said that users who had not lost any functionality up until that point will not lose any additional features.

The government has demanded that the new policy be scrapped completely.

WhatsApp filed a lawsuit in Delhi high court on May 26 alleging that the requirement for them to adopt features like traceability for identifying message originators violated their right to privacy under Indian law and the company’s end-to-end encryption policy.

WhatsApp claimed that the traceability provision was “unconstitutional and in violation of people’s fundamental right to privacy,” citing the 2017 Justice K S Puttaswamy vs Union of India judgement.

WhatsApp responded to the case by calling it an “act of defiance” and a “unfortunate attempt to delay the implementation of the guidelines.”

It also stated that the government will only seek information in cases of serious crimes or in the interest of national security, and that WhatsApp’s usual operation will not be affected. None of India’s planned measures would have any effect on WhatsApp’s normal operation, and there would be no impact on ordinary users, according to the government.

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Swastika Dubey

Swastika Dubey is a content writer who has a keen interest in politics, fashion, and lifestyle. She is a post-graduate in Economics and loves to listen to classic old Hindi songs and travel to new places in her leisure time. Her writing is well researched, covering important aspects and core of the topic covering crucial points.

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