The WhatsApp Inc. mobile-messaging application WhatsApp is displayed on a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy S4 smartphone, left, and an Apple Inc. iPhone in this arranged photograph taken in London, U.K., (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

WhatsApp Privacy Policy: Government Tells Supreme Court It’s Working On Data Protection 

The government told the Supreme Court that it is 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 framework. He sought to defer the matter by a couple of months, saying that the new policy might be finalised by then.

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 on April 5, referred to social media platform WhatsApp's privacy policy matter to a constitution bench.

The 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 up to 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.

It had also directed the central government and TRAI to examine the feasibility of bringing the functioning of internet messaging applications like WhatsApp under statutory regulatory framework. WhatsApp had earlier informed that, when a user account was deleted, the information of that person was no longer retained on its servers.