What WhatsApp and Facebook want to do is worse than stalking, India's solicitor general tells court
- WhatsApp and Facebook filed a plea in the
Delhi High Courtfor a stay on the Competition Commission of India’s ( CCI) plans to conduct an antitrust investigation.
- The tech giants argue that the issue of data sharing is one of privacy, and does not fall under the purview of India’s competition watchdog.
- However, India's solicitor general undercut their argument saying the issue is not whether or not data is being collected — the issue is how it is being used.
AdvertisementIndia’s competition watchdog doesn’t want WhatsApp sharing user data with its parent company, Facebook. But, the tech giants don’t believe that is the CCI’s place to have an opinion on the matter.
While the Delhi High Court has reserved its order on WhatsApp and Facebook’s challenge to the probe by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the two sides had some scathing exchanges during the arguments.
The plea filed by WhatsApp and its parent company asserted that since there is already an ongoing case in the
The messaging platform’s 2021 update states that WhatsApp will be sharing user data with Facebook in order to optimise recommendations for their users. The CCI contends that WhatsApp is using its dominant position in the market to force users to share information with its parent company.
India’s competition watchdog believes that ‘excessive’ data collection is getting in the way of creating a healthy competitive environment.
Harish Salve, who argued on behalf of the tech giants, asserted that the issue of whether excessive data collection has any anti-competitive implications is something for the Indian government to decide, not the CCI.
Is the WhatsApp-Facebook connection a matter of privacy or data use?
According to Salve, the CCI’s probe into Facebook and WhatsApp is not a matter of competition but of protection and privacy — which would fall under the government’s purview since they are constitutional issues.
However, assistant solicitor general (ASG) Aman Lekhi, hit back saying that the analysis of the data collected by WhatsApp will give even more information about an individual than actual physical stalking.
According to him, the purpose of data sharing is targeted advertising and customer profiling.
The Delhi High Court has not issued a verdict on the matter and reserved its judgement. The date for the next hearing has not been announced yet.
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