WhatsApp Privacy Policy Controversy Not Over, CCI Said Big Thing

WhatsApp Privacy Policy: The CCI (Competition Commission of India) told the Delhi High Court that the privacy policy brought in 2021 has not yet been withdrawn by WhatsApp, so the policy investigation should be allowed to proceed. The CCI also told the court that the scope of its investigation does not overlap with the issue of alleged violation of privacy of pending users in the Supreme Court.

The Competition Commission of India has placed its point before a bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma in the Delhi High Court against the order of a single bench judge quashing the order of investigation of the instant messaging app on appeal of Facebook and WhatsApp company.

non refundable privacy policy

The CCI told a bench headed by the Chief Justice that WhatsApp has not yet withdrawn its privacy policy. Therefore this investigation should continue. A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, comprising Justice Subramaniam Prasad, reserved the order on the appeals after hearing the parties concerned.

The company had later challenged the order of inquiry given by a CCI Single Bench Judge against WhatsApp and Facebook, which said that the issue related to the policy was already under consideration before the High Court and the Supreme Court. However, in April 2021 last year, a single bench judge had refused to interfere with the investigation directed by the CCI.

Notifications being sent to users

In the Delhi High Court, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) N Venkataraman, appearing for CCI, argued against the WhatsApp Privacy Policy and said that the company is still asking users to accept it through pop-ups.

The company is specifically sending pop-ups to users who have not accepted this policy, which indicates that this policy is still in effect, so its investigation should not be postponed any more waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision. should be done.

The Solicitor General argued in the High Court that the judicial process cannot be used to thwart the investigation…. (Pending a privacy issue before the Supreme Court) may not automatically eliminate competition law concerns. There is no overlap in the facts. We should be allowed to investigate.

Company can misuse user data

ASG N Venkataraman said that there could still be violations on the competition law front as there are users who have opted for policy update and “for the non-refundable period”, the policy has to be “examined”. ASG Balbir Singh also appeared in Delhi High Court on behalf of CCI. He said that Facebook, the holding company of the messaging platform, can misuse the data being shared.

ASG Venkataraman argued in the Court that the outcome of the Supreme Court proceedings would have no bearing on proceedings under the Competition Act which deals with abuse of dominance by a market player. He also said that as long as there is no lack of jurisdiction or there is malpractice or arbitrariness, the CCI investigation cannot be stopped.

CCI probe postponed

Counsel Tejar Karia, appearing for WhatsApp, appeared in the High Court and said that “status quo” was being maintained for users who have not opted for the policy update and are being examined before the Supreme Court and the High Court. In view of the validity of the existing privacy policy, the CCI investigation should be postponed.

Last week, senior advocate Harish Salve had filed a petition in the court against the CCI order on behalf of WhatsApp. On the other hand, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Facebook, submitted that there was no prima facie material in the matter and the CCI cannot investigate it in a “creeping fashion”.

Earlier in the year, on January 3, a bench headed by Chief Justice DN Patel extended the time for replying to two notices sent by CCI to Facebook and WhatsApp in June 2021 and asked the company to provide necessary information for investigation. was.

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