Govt working on a data protection framework: SC told

NEW DELHI : The Government today told the Supreme Court that it was in the process of putting in place a comprehensive data protection framework and sought deferment of the hearing on the WhatsApp privacy policy matter.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a five-judge constitution bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was in the process of evolving the data protection framework.
Rohatgi urged the bench that the hearing in the WhatsApp privacy policy matter may be deferred for a couple of months as the new policy might be finalised by then.
“The government is actively mulling over a comprehensive date protection framework,” he told the bench.
The bench, which fixed the matter for hearing on April 27, asked senior advocate Harish Salve, who is appearing for the petitioner, to formulate the issues to be deliberated upon by it by August 24.
The apex court had on April 5 referred to social media platform WhatsApp’s privacy policy matter to a constitution bench.
The apex court had on January 16 sought responses from the Centre and telecom regulator TRAI on a plea that privacy of over 157 million Indians has been infringed by social networking sites – WhatsApp and Facebook – for alleged commercial use of personal communication.
The Delhi High Court had earlier restrained WhatsApp, an instant messaging application, from sharing with Facebook the user information existing upto September 25, 2016, when its new privacy policy came into effect.
The High Court, in its verdict in September last year, had directed WhatsApp to delete the information/data of those who had opted out of the service before September 25, 2016 and not to share them with social networking site Facebook or its group companies.
The high court had also directed the Centre and TRAI to examine the feasibility of bringing the functioning of internet messaging applications like WhatsApp under statutory regulatory framework.
WhatsApp had earlier informed the high court that when a user account was deleted, the information of that person was no longer retained on its servers. (AGENCIES)


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