Supreme Court issues notice to social media/instant messaging giants
Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde on Monday said Indians have “grave apprehensions” about privacy from Facebook and WhatsApp.
“People have grave apprehensions about loss of privacy. You may be a two or three trillion company, but people value their privacy more. It is our duty to protect people’s privacy,” Chief Justice Bobde, heading a three-judge Bench, addressed lawyers appearing for the social media/instant messaging giants.
“We are telling you what we heard and read – People think that if A sends a WhatsApp message to B and B to C. The circuit of messages is revealed to Facebook,” the CJI addressed senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Arvind Datar, for the companies.
Both lawyers vehemently denied this as “misinformation”.
Chief Justice Bobde said,“Say that on oath. We are issuing notice. File a response.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the government, stated, “This is an apprehension of the nation… Privacy is part of our fundamental rights. They [WhatsApp and Facebook] cannot compromise our privacy… They cannot differentiate.”
Mr. Datar said the General Data Protection Regulations was followed by probably 20 countries in the world. Allegations of differential treatment being accorded to Indians were unfounded.
“There is a different set of rules for Europeans and different for Indians… Even the government has taken serious note and issued notices to the companies,” he said. He urged the court to step in and ensure that no data is leaked.