Petitioner Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) sought a direction to the Government to restrain WhatsApp and Facebook from storing and utilising the works transmitted through the messaging service for any purpose.
CAIT also urged the top court to direct the two companies to allow the Centre to carry out ‘Technical Audits’ of their data centres, where the data of Indian users are stored, so as to retrieve and delete such data of Indian Users.
The petition filed through advocate Vivek Narayan Sharma says the PIL was necessitated due to the failure of the Centre in carrying out its constitutional duty and responsibility to protect the rights to privacy and freedom of speech and expression of the citizens of India.
The plea says the Centre has failed to impose necessary and restrictive conditions in the instant case, while the European Union’s (EU) Antitrust Authority imposed serious restrictions on the proposed policy of WhatsApp and a fine of 110 million euros on the instant messaging platform in 2017
The plea says users share confidential information on the platform on the assurance that their private and personal conversations, along with their confidential data and information, will neither be accessed by any other person (including the service provider itself) nor would such data or information be shared or exploited or utilised by anyone in any manner whatsoever.
“Thus, the technology giants who deal with such data must have a fiduciary duty to ensure that the information they so possess and collect from citizens and businesses must be safe and not used for their own commercial gains without the consent of the users. It is also the responsibility of the State to guarantee and ensure the protection of the personal and private data and information of the citizens,” the plea says.
Copy of representation to Union Minister Shri RS Prasad, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT),
Confederation of All India Traders
Ref No.: 3138/ 1/50
Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad Hon’ble Minister for IT & Communication Government of India New Delhi
Dear Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad
15th January, 2021
We are firm on our stand that WhatsApp, Facebook & it, outfit Instagram are guilty in severe breach of privacy and destroying the trust of more than 400 million users in India which are owned by one single parent company who have left no stone unturned in compromising the security, privacy, independence and integrity of the whole nation by sharing user information amongst each other and selling to third parties. I
Further, a technical Audit of these three social media platforms should also be conducted immediately and it should be ascertained whether the data which has been accrued so far by them is stored in India or transfered to some other Country The WhatsApp has encroached upon fundamental rights of citizen “by updating its new user policy, WhatsApp has not only challenged the very fundamentals of the right to privacy of an individual, it has made every citizen vulnerable and suscep-tible to the whims and fancies of the unscrupulous digital companies out to infringe on a person’s existence.
The proposed new policy is a potential hammer on Right to Freedom of Liberty & Life as also Right to Freedom of Speech & Expression It, a peculiar situation where foreign entities operating in different verticals of Indian economy are obtaining data of the people of India in a very clandestine manner not for doing charity in India but to make huge capital by transferring that data in other Countries. Same thing is happening in e-commerce also and in absence of any policy or Regulatory Authorities, these MNCs find it easy to dodge laws of the land in India.
The business community under the flag of CAIT is all set to foil this sinister game of MNCs at any cost and will ensure that either they comply with the relevant Laws and Rules or else leave India.
It is further to add that when WhatsApp was launched in the year 2009 they swore by their high standards of privacy and assured by saying So first of all, Let’s set the records straight. We have not, we do not and we will not ever sell your per-sonal information to alipne. Period,. leads to a pertinent question: What happened to this high standard and moral ground now? After gaining trust of people they have forgotten everything and in broad daylight annihilating the faith and confidence reposed by millions of users. After failing in its attempt in European Union to continue this policy, Facebook has now made India as a new target.. 2017, for the same policy which WhatsApp proposed to began on 8th February in Iidia, the Facebook earned fire from European Union Antitrust Authority which not only imposed restrictions on Facebook but also levied a fine of 110 million dollars in 2017 which shows that these MNC are habitual offenders for exploitation of sovereign wealth of the Country where they are conducting business activities, by legal or illegal means. It’s a case of daylight robbery of data in India and we are quite hopeful that you will be Idnd in accepting our humble submission made as above.
We look forward to your valued response.
Thank you. With kind regards Truly Yours
Confederation of All India Traders
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