Any business is entitled to follow the letter of the law – it is up to the governments to bring the letter of the law in complete sync with the spirit of the law
“Rather than vilify a company for following the letter of the law, India should focus on why there isn’t a better one,” writes Probir Roy Chowdhury, an advocate with the law firm, J Sagar Associates, in Mondaq.
Under the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011, or ‘SPDI Rules’, a service provider such as WhatsApp is not barred from collecting ‘personal information’ such as contact list details, usage or log information or other location-based information; for ‘sensitive personal data’, the service provider should get express consent from the customer, use the data so collected for a lawful activity, provide opportunity to the customer to withdraw consent and not share the data with a third party, unless expressly consented to by the customer. Chowdhury notes that during the hearing, the Delhi High Court observed that WhatsApp users do not have to agree to WhatsApp’s privacy rules as they could easily shift to other messaging networks if they don’t like the rules. Users could also go to other independent platforms of business or avail themselves of other hosting services.