Facebook Lawyer Tells SC: Privacy Seekers Better Leave WhatsApp, FaceBook

In repetition of what Snapchat CEO said two years ago that he was not looking for Indian users but the Western users, today the lawyer of Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, told the country’s apex court openly that those who are concerned with the privacy of chats and calls are welcome to leave Whatsapp and Facebook and guaranteed no privacy for users.

Responding to a petition filed by students Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi on the new privacy policy brought in by Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, WhatsApp counsel Kapil Sharma tried to assure the Supre Court’s five-judge-bench over the privacy saying encryption from user to user is protected. He added that the policy was a contract between the user and the company in the private domain, and the court has nothing to do with it constitutionally or otherwise.

However, K K Venugopal, the counsel for Facebook, was more direct when he questioned the entire trial saying, "Those who find the new privacy policy irksome or violative of their fundamental rights, can quit. We’ve given full freedom to users to withdraw from Facebook and WhatsApp."

His opponent counsel Harish Salve said both Facebook and WhatsApp have given no choice to users and forced them to unwittingly give their consent so as to allow both WhatsApp and Facebook to snoop on messages privately exchanged between different users of WhatsApp in the name of improving services in the future.

"They claim that this is being done to improve services to be given in future to users. Whether the snooping is done electronically or manually, the right to privacy of users gets breached. The government is duty bound to protect the fundamental right of every citizen. If it is failing, then the Supreme Court can surely issue appropriate directions," he argued.

Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta from the government side argued that a regulatory regime for Internet-based messaging and voice call platforms would soon be put in place, as the government was committed to protect the freedom fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. The next hearing will be held on May 15.

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