New trouble for WhatsApp: Is it ready to face this fresh challenge in India?

After facing massive flak and outrage in social media over its controversial privacy policy, global messaging service WhatsApp is now facing fresh trouble after its policy is now been challenged legally in the Delhi High Court. The development puts WhatsApp to face more challenges amid its bid to clear the clouds of controversy and to claim that it is very clean in its privacy and security standards. 

According to reports, advocate Chaitanya Rohilla has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court against WhatsApp by accusing the messaging service of violating the Right to Privacy and threatens national security. In his plea, Rohilla said that the level of insight into a person's private and personal activities is done without any government oversight at present or regulatory supervision. The reports say that the advocate has sought an injunction order from the high court prohibiting WhatsApp from enforcing its policy. 

The petition has also demanded WhatsApp to refrain from sharing its information with any third party or Facebook for any purpose. The advocate further stated in his plea that the sharing of information is illegal because WhatsApp can only share information for purposes that are reasonably linked to what the information was provided for. The advocate said that if WhatsApp is going to share user data with Facebook, then the data being integrated would mean that the user is perpetually under the surveillance of the Facebook group of companies. 

The plea states that WhatsApp has become an important mode of communication among Indians and is also used to aide governmental functions, to stress that it discharges a public function even while being a private entity. With the legal trouble, WhatsApp has been facing fire from the Indian users for its privacy policy which will be applicable from February 8. The users criticize the messaging platform for compromising security and privacy standards.

In its recent policy, WhatsApp said that the messaging service may share user information with its family of companies to facilitate, support, and integrate their activities and improve the services. However, the reports say that the information that WhatsApp automatically collects from users will now be shared with Facebook, including phone number, and other information the user provides and along with that WhatsApp will also share the details of the users including location, IP address, profile picture, status, and device information. 

The controversial policy had led many Indians to uninstall WhatsApp and switch to similar applications like Signal and Telegram. As WhatsApp had witnessed the unprecedented plunge, the Facebook-owned company has issued a clarification in its bid to save the Indian market in which it has said that change in its recently revised policy doesn't affect the privacy of messages with friends or family and claimed that the update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp. 

WhatsApp said it wanted to address rumors and asserted that it will continue to protect your private messages with end-to-end encryption. The messaging service said that it could not see the private messages or hear the calls of the users. According to reports, WhatsApp had released a new FAQ on its site that highlights private communication on the application. In its FAQ, the messaging platform said, "Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can read your messages or hear your calls with your friends, family, and co-workers on WhatsApp. Whatever you share, it stays between you". 

It further stated that "Our privacy policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family". The messaging service said that it didn't keep logs of user communications. Taking to Twitter, WhatsApp said, "We want to address some rumors and be 100% clear, we continue to protect your private messages with end-to-end encryption". By citing that WhatsApp didn't share contacts with Facebook, it said, "When you give us permission, we access only the phone numbers from your address book to make messaging fast and reliable, and we don't share your contacts lists with the other apps Facebook offers".