28/04/2017 4:28 PM IST | Updated 28/04/2017 5:22 PM IST

Users Can Quit WhatsApp If They Find The Privacy Policy Irksome: Facebook

Next hearing of the WhatsApp privacy case is on 15 May.

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

Representatives of Facebook said in the Supreme Court today that users are free to quit the WhatsApp instant messaging service, which is owned by Facebook, if they don't like find the platform's privacy policy. WhatsApp is facing a case related to data security and privacy filed by two students, Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi.

"Those who find the new privacy policy irksome or violative of their fundamental rights, can quit. We have given full freedom to users to withdraw from Facebook and WhatsApp," Facebook's representative KK Venugopal said, as reported in the Economic Times.

The government is also pushing to form a regulatory committee and framework around Over The Top (OTT) content players such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Viber, and Skype. Kapil Sibal, also representing Facebook, said that WhatsApp already provided end-to-end encryption for security. And, if the government was going to come up with a policy there was no point in deciding the matter now.

The bench hearing the issue comprises Justices AK Sikri, Amitava Roy, AM Khanwilkar and MM Shantanagoudar. It observed that by declaring that users were free to quit WhatsApp, Facebook representatives were asking users to make a negative choice.

"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 SC can surely issue appropriate directions," Harish Salve, appearing for the petitioners, said. The bench has fixed the next hearing for 15 May.

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