Competition Commission of India defends decision for probe into WhatsApp’s new privacy policy

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Tuesday defended before the Delhi High Court its decision calling for an investigation into the WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.

The competition watchdog, represented by Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, said the probe order was made to gauge whether access to data would lead to abuse of dominant position.

The commission said it was dealing with the instant messaging app’s new privacy policy that could lead to “excessive data collection” of consumers, the use and sharing of the data in anti-competitive context.

Mr. Lekhi said the commission was not concerned with privacy aspect of the issue as the Supreme Court was already seized of it.

The CCI’s submission came while hearing two separate petitions filed by Facebook and WhatsApp challenging its March 24 direction ordered for a probe into WhatsApp’s new privacy policy. The CCI had ordered that the investigation be completed within 60 days.

Mr. Lekhi said it was too early for the High Court to hear the petitions as the CCI had only ordered for an investigation, the report for which was yet to come.

WhatsApp, represented by senior advocate Harish Salve, said the CCI had jumped the gun and started the probe when this was not a competition issue.

WhatsApp said the issue with respect to personal data of users, and sharing of personalised data was already before the Supreme Court, hence the CCI ought not to have intervened.

Both Facebook and WhatsApp, in their separate pleas, have contended that since the issue of WhatsApp’s privacy policy was before the Supreme Court, the CCI did not need to order the probe.

After hearing all the parties, Justice Navin Chawla reserved the judgment.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 5:07:04 PM |

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