In a recent hearing in the Supreme Court, Facebook, the owner of WhatsApp through its counsel told the Supreme Court of India that those who feel aggrieved could quit the platform. The counsel of WhatsApp which consists of Kapil Sibal has given assurance that messages and voice calls over the app have end-to-end encryption that ensures complete privacy of the user.

He further added that since the contract between a user and WhatsApp was completely in the private domain, the policy could not be tested constitutionally by the SC.

Also, the petition filed by students Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi was not maintainable. Sibal presented his legal points before a bench which consist of Justices Dipak Misra, A K Sikri, Amitava Roy, A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar.

The Facebook counsel which consist of K K Venugopal was more blunt with the statement, “Those who find the new privacy policy irksome or violative of their fundamental rights can quit. We have given freedom to the users to withdraw from Facebook and WhatsApp.”

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In response, the bench replied that this policy will force a citizen to pick a negative choice. Under the new policy, the users were unwittingly made to give consent to both WhatsApp and Facebook and the latter could snoop on messages that users exchange between themselves.

The company claimed that the new policy is implemented to improve the services for the users in future. Whether the snooping is done electronically or manually, the right to privacy of a user gets breached.

It is the duty of government to protect the fundamental rights of every citizen. If it is failing in ensuring that then the SC can surely take some appropriate measures. Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta said the government is committed to protect the freedom and fundamental rights of the citizens that are guaranteed under the constitution.

The government will soon release a set of guidelines for internet based messaging and voice call platforms that will ensure that primary fundamentals of the citizens are ensured.