Shocking! WhatsApp’s new privacy policy could lead to user stalking

In a shocking turn of events, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) told the Delhi High Court that the new privacy policy introduced by WhatsApp early this year could lead to excessive data collection and stalking of consumers for targeted advertising.

Justice Navin Chawla of the Delhi High Court said that the CCI order appears to be concerned with WhatsApp users’ privacy issues, in response to the industry watchdog’s stand. CCI has maintained that it was not examining any alleged violations of individuals’ privacy, as the Supreme Court of India is investigating the matter separately.

Currently, the Delhi High Court is hearing a plea filed by WhatsApp and Facebook to keep the CCI’s order of directing an investigation into the new privacy policy at arm’s length. Senior advocate Harish Salve appeared for WhatsApp in the High Court and argued that the competition regulator has “jumped the gun” by ordering the investigation.

In his defence, he cited two reasons to back his arguments. Firstly, he said that the 2021 update doesn’t change WhatsApp’s privacy policy. “The policy is not altered and is only an amplification of existing privacy policy. The competition regulator couldn’t have ordered an investigation on this issue since the high court and Supreme Court are already hearing cases on it,” he said.

Secondly, he argued that since the High Court and the Supreme Court are already hearing similar cases, the CCI can’t order a separate investigation on the same issue. Senior advocate Aman Lekhi appeared for CCI. He cleared in the court that the industry watchdog is looking at the competition aspect and not on the privacy violation of an individual. He said that there is no question of jurisdictional error, adding that the pleas were “incompetent and misconceived”.