In Whatsapp’s defence, its counsel Kapil Sibal mentioned, that messages and voice calls over the platform were end-to-end encrypted which ensured complete privacy. With regard to the petition, he said, that since the contract between a user and WhatsApp was completely in the private domain, the policy could not be tested constitutionally by the SC and the petition filed, was not maintainable.
While Sibal gave a detailed response to the petition, Facebook counsel K K Venugopal was bluntly blunt. He remarked,
Similar legal issues globally
Issues with Whatsapp’s new data sharing regime aren’t new though.
Later, in a statement sent to The Tech Portal, the IM platform clarified the following,
Both Whatsapp and its owner Facebook are facing similar court cases and legal battles elsewhere as well. In EU for example, the European Commission has also found this new policy change unacceptable. The company however, is close to reaching a solution to that case, a point made evident by EU regulator’s lead on privacy issues with Facebook, Irwin Dixon. In a statement earlier, Dixon had said,
I think we are in agreement with the parties – WhatsApp and Facebook – that the quality of the information provided to users could have been clearer, could have been more transparent and could have been expressed in simpler terms. We are working towards a solution on that.
On the central Government’s behalf, additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta said the government was committed to protect the freedom and fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution and informed the court that a regulatory regime for internet based messaging and voice call platforms would soon be put in place.
The Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices Dipak Misra, A K Sikri, Amitava Roy, A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar, fixed May 15 for preliminary hearing.