WhatsApp privacy policy: Delhi High Court rejects Facebook, WhatsApp plea challenging probe by CCI

The Delhi high court on Thursday dismissed pleas by social media platforms Facebook and WhatsApp, challenging India’s competition regulator CCI’s order directing a probe into WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.  A single bench of Justice Navin Chawla said it did not find merit in the petition and refused to quash the CCI probe. The court said the probe cannot be quashed merely because CCI did not await the outcome of the cases pending before the Supreme Court and the High Court. On April 13, the court had reserved its verdict on Facebook Inc and its subsidiary WhatsApp challenging the CCI order. The court noted that WhatsApp, Facebook independently challenged the Commission’s order without moving an application before the top court and the High Court for clarification.

Facebook and WhatsApp challenged CCI order calling for a Director General (DG) probe to ascertain the full extent, scope and impact of data sharing through involuntary consent of users. They argued that privacy was a constitutional issue, which could not be examined by the commission. The CCI, represented by Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, defended its order by clarifying the issue before the regulator was only with respect to the anti-competitive aspect of the policy. The commission contended there was no clash with the courts on issues of privacy.

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