14:10 GMT18 May 2021
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    Earlier this year, instant messaging app WhatsApp admitted that it shares user data exchanged on its 2018-launched “Business” app with Facebook. The company's update created panic among its two billion global users over security concerns.

    WhatsApp’s controversial privacy policy could result in excessive data collection and "stalking" of buyers for advertising purposes and abusing its dominant position, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday, according to media reports.

    ​Advocate Aman Lekhi, who was representing the CCI before Justice Navin Chawla in the Delhi High Court, said that WhatsApp and Facebook's pleas challenging CCI’s findings were “incompetent and misconceived."

    The Delhi High Court directed the CCI to open an investigation into WhatsApp’s new privacy policy on 24 March. At the time, Facebook and WhatsApp contended that when the Delhi High Court, as well as India’s Supreme Court, were looking into the messaging app's privacy policy, the CCI should not have “jumped the gun” and intervened.

    For now, the court has reserved its order on the matter.

    In January, WhatsApp, which has around 400 million users in India, had said that it was looking forward to “engaging with the CCI” after the Indian whistle-blower decided to take suo motu cognisance (an action taken on apprehension) of how the policy may impact users in India.

    In recent months, WhatsApp has resorted to various methods to show people that their private chats are end-to-end encrypted.

    In India, not only did it roll out official status updates regarding the privacy policy on its app, it also purchased ads on front pages of leading Indian newspapers claiming that users' privacy is top priority.

    The company has also repeatedly been flashing reminders on its app asking users to either accept the policy by 15 May or delete their accounts. Reacting to these repeated reminders, Indian WhatsApp users have time and again said that they would not let their arms be twisted. 

    In its privacy policy update, WhatApp said that it will be sharing user data like device location and contact details for chats on its “Business” app with Facebook to make the buying-selling experience more personalised for users.



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