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WhatsApp sharing data with Facebook despite an Indian High Court order

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WhatsApp’s recent data sharing policy, which entitles it to share user data with Facebook, is causing the company a significant bit of trouble. With many users opting out of the option, the company is also drawing the ire of governments and regulatory bodies across the world, who in many cases, are passing orders that prevent the data syncing. The situation has taken a rather interesting turn in India though, with WhatsApp professing to go ahead as originally planned, despite an order from the Delhi High court.

Just last week, the Delhi High Court passed an order in which it told WhatsApp to delete user data associated with people who had opted out of WhatsApp’s privacy policy changes before Sept. 25. The company was also quite clearly asked to not use any user data collected before Sept. 25. However, WhatsApp while speaking with Mashable, has said that the court directives do not affect it in any way since its data syncing policies came into effect after Sunday.

In case you are wondering about the kind of data the messaging app can share with Facebook, your profile name, profile picture, and status messages all come under the scheme. What’s more, your phone number along with the phone numbers of everyone in your address book can also be shared between WhatsApp and Facebook under this new order of things.

After WhatsApp announced the update, and people who unknowingly updated their applications without opting out of the scheme of things got their data synced with Facebook, a couple of students — You can usually trust students to notice this kind of stuff first! — approached the Delhi High Court. The court then passed the order which we have already mentioned above.

Meanwhile, India is a very important destination for the messaging app. With over 100 million monthly users, the company would not want to draw the ire of the judiciary or regulatory bodies of the country. Undoubtedly, the Delhi high court is going to have something to say about messaging application’s current stance. It could go right out and ask the app to stop the data sync and delete the data it has already collected — as happened in Germany recently — in which case, WhatsApp (or Facebook) would likely appeal against the decision.

Or, both the parties could try and arrive at a decision that is acceptable to both WhatsApp and the vast majority of its users. We will know more either way, once the judiciary takes notice of this development and decides to act on it.


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