HC to hear in Oct appeals of FB, WhatsApp in privacy policy matter

New Delhi, Aug 27 (PTI):
The Delhi High Court Friday said it will hear in October the appeals of Facebook and WhatsApp challenging its single-judge order dismissing their pleas against the probe ordered by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) into the instant messaging app’s new privacy policy.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh listed the matter for October 11 while extending the time to file replies to the June 4 and 8 notices issued by CCI to WhatsApp and Facebook, till then.
While CCI was represented through Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, WhatsApp and Facebook were represented through senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi respectively. WhatsApp and Facebook have also challenged the CCI’s asking them to furnish certain information for the purpose of inquiry conducted by it.
The case relates to the appeals of Facebook and WhatsApp against a single judge order dismissing their pleas against the probe CCI ordered into the instant messaging app’s new privacy policy. The division bench of the high court had on May 6 issued notices on the appeals and asked the Centre to respond to it.
The single judge on April 22 had said though it would have been “prudent” for the CCI to await the outcome of petitions in the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court against WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, not doing so would not make the regulator’s order “perverse” or “wanting of jurisdiction”.
The court had said it saw no merit in the petitions of Facebook and WhatsApp to interdict the investigation directed by the CCI. The CCI had contended before the single judge that it was not examining the alleged violation of individuals’ privacy which was being looked into by the Supreme Court.
It had argued before the court that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp would lead to excessive data collection and “stalking” of consumers for targeted advertising to bring in more users and is therefore an alleged abuse of dominant position.
WhatsApp and Facebook had challenged the CCI’s March 24 order directing a probe into the new privacy policy.
In January, the CCI on its own decided to look into WhatsApp’s new privacy policy on the basis of news reports regarding the same.

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