Facebook, WhatsApp Probe: Delhi High Court Likely to Pronounce Judgement on CCI Inquiry Today

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The Delhi High Court is likely to pronounce judgement on Thursday on pleas by social media platforms Facebook and WhatsApp challenging competition regulator CCI”s order directing a probe into the latter’s new privacy policy.

Justice Navin Chawla had on April 13 reserved verdict on the two separate petitions by Facebook and WhatsApp.

While reserving its decision, the court had observed that the order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) does not mirror an investigation into abuse of dominant position and somewhat seems to be concerned with privacy issues of consumers.

The statement came in response to CCI’s stand that it was once not examining the alleged violation of individuals” privacy which was once being looked into by the Supreme Court.

CCI had argued before the court that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp would lead to over the top data collection and “stalking” of consumers for targeted advertising to herald more users and is subsequently an alleged abuse of dominant position.

“There’s no question of jurisdictional error,” it had contended and added that WhatsApp and Facebook’s pleas challenging its decision were “incompetent and misconceived”.

WhatsApp and Facebook have challenged the CCI’s March 24 order directing a probe into the new privacy policy.

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

CCI had also contended that the data collected, which would include an individual’s location, the type of device used, their Internet service provider and whom they’re conversing with, would lead to creation of a customer profile and preference which would be monetised by means of targeted advertising and all this amounts to “stalking”.

The two social media platforms, alternatively, had contended that when the top court and the Delhi High Court were taking a look into the privacy policy, then CCI ought not to have “jumped the gun” and intervened in the issue.

They had also said that CCI’s decision was once an abuse of the commission’s suo motu jurisdiction.
They claimed that the CCI in the immediate case has “drifted far absent” from the competition aspect and was once taking a look into the privacy issue which was once already being looked into by the apex court and the Delhi High Court.

The two social media platforms had also told the court that private conversations continued to be safe by end to end encryption and WhatsApp cannot read what people message every other.
They had also contended that the lots of the data generated belonged to WhatsApp as the only data given by customers was once their phone number which is required to register on the messaging platform.

In January, the CCI by itself made up our minds to look into WhatsApp’s new privacy policy on the basis of news reports regarding the same.

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