Delhi HC Dismisses Pleas Against CCI Order to Probe WhatsApp Privacy Policy

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The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed pleas by social media platforms WhatsApp and Facebook challenging India’s competition regulator CCI’s order directing a probe into the new privacy policy of WhatsApp.

Justice Navin Chawla said that it would have been ‘prudent’ for the CCI to await the outcome of petitions in the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court against the new privacy policy of WhatsApp.

The court said it saw no merit in the petitions of Facebook and WhatsApp to interdict the investigation directed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), reported Zee News.

The high court had earlier reserved its verdict in the case and observed that the order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) does not reflect an investigation into abuse of dominant position and rather appears to be concerned with privacy issues of consumers.

The observation had come in response to the CCI’s stand that it was not examining the alleged violation of individuals’ privacy which was being looked into by the Supreme Court. The CCI had argued before the court that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp would lead to excessive data collection and “stalking” of consumers for targeted advertising to bring in more users and is, therefore, alleged abuse of dominant position, the report stated.

It further said, “There is no question of jurisdictional error,” adding that WhatsApp and Facebook’s pleas challenging its decision were “incompetent and misconceived”.

CCI also told the court that only after the investigation can it be determined whether the data collection by WhatsApp and sharing it with Facebook would amount to an anti-competitive practice or abuse of dominant position.

It had also contended that the data collected, which would include an individual’s location, the kind of device used, their internet service provider, and whom they are conversing with, would lead to the creation of a customer profile and preference which would be monetized by way of targeted advertising and all this amounts to “stalking”.

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