Centre files an affidavit against WhatsApp’s new “Trick Consent” policy

Centre files an affidavit against WhatsApp’s new “Trick Consent” policy

The Central Government has responded to the petition filed by WhatsApp in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court, concerning the new Information Technology Act of 2021 and the amendments made to it. The Centre has stated that WhatsApp is having a hidden agenda to obtain trick consent from its users and are hell-bent on luring its users to fall prey to its new privacy policy 2021. Allegedly, the company has been sending push notifications to its users asking them to either accept the new privacy policy or opt out. The Centre has accused WhatsApp of trying to find loopholes in the law before the Personal Data Protection Bill is passed. This is the law that is expected to prevail on the much-debated subject.

The Centre has requested a thorough investigation on the subject. Among other allegations, WhatsApp has also been subjected to the accusation that it has violated section 4 of the Competition Commission Act of India 2002. This accusation was even validated by a single-judge bench of the Delhi High Court upon challenge.

Earlier, upon being instructed by the Centre, WhatsApp had deferred the commencement of the privacy policy beyond 15th May. However, this deferral does not cancel the obligation of the company to abide by the terms and regulations of the new Information Technology Act of 2021. The company has stated that its users can either accept the policy or opt-out which means stop using the app altogether. The government has alleged that this privacy policy is not only violative of the regulations passed by the government, but also discriminative of the users belonging to India and the users who reside in Europe. 

As we know, WhatsApp is a platform that is used by millions of people for the sake of convenience in communication. The new policies of the government have already been puzzling to the people as they are skeptical about the security of their privacy and communication on online platforms. On top of that, if the online service providing companies themselves come up with terms that are confusing and manipulative, it becomes all the more difficult for the people who are dealing with the existing difficult times under the current situation of the second wave of covid 19. Further details and the ultimate judgment of the court are still awaited.

Sneha Mukherjee
I am Sneha Mukherjee from Symbiosis Law School Noida, currently pursuing a BA.LLB. I am a self-motivated person with an optimistic approach to life and a rational brain. I love to think, analyse and articulate my opinions without fear or favour. With a keen interest in learning, growing and persevering, I take a small step each day to realise my dreams and ambitions.