The government has said this in its reply to a PIL filed by Seema Singh and Advocates Meghan and Vikram Singh. The case is being heard by the Delhi High Court division bench headed by Chief Justice DN Patel.
In its reply to the Delhi High Court, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has pointed out that WhatsApp comes under the definition of ‘’body corporate’’ according to the Section 43A of the Information Technology Act. Therefore, the ministry said, it is covered by the IT Rules 2011.
A body corporate, according to the IT Act, is any company, firm, sole proprietorship, or other association of individuals which is engaged in commercial or professional activities.
It fails to specify the types of sensitive personal data which is being collected: The government says WhatsApp policy uses extremely general terms for the kinds of data being collected and does not make any distinction between personal data and sensitive personal data.
Fails to provide an option to withdraw consent retrospectively: The IT rules allow the user to not consent and even revoke earlier consent given for sharing the information. If an earlier consent is withdrawn, the reply said, it effectively means that the earlier collected data has to be deleted. In WhatsApp’s policy, a user may choose not to share data and can be denied the service. But it fails on the second parameter as even if a user deletes their account, a substantial corpus of information may be retained.
The PIL by Dr. Seema Singh came up for hearing before the high court on Friday and will be taken up next on April 20.