The Supreme Court Monday requested instantaneous messaging app WhatsApp to file response on a plea searching for a path to the RBI and the NPCI to make sure that information collected on Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platforms shouldn’t be shared with their father or mother firm or every other third occasion beneath any circumstances.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian stated if WhatsApp doesn’t file its reply, then the averment made within the writ petition filed by petitioner Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam shall be taken as accepted.
Several interlocutory purposes have been filed within the plea which additionally search path for framing regulation to make sure that information collected on UPI platforms shouldn’t be “exploited” or utilized in any method aside from for processing funds.
Senior advocate Arvind Dattar, showing for WhatsApp India, stated nevertheless no formal discover has been issued to it within the plea for impleadment within the matter.
Senior advocate V Giri, showing for Reserve Bank of India, knowledgeable the highest courtroom that they’ve filed their reply within the matter.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, additionally showing for WhatsApp, stated ”WhatsApp Pay” has obtained all crucial permission.
Senior advocate Krishna Venugopal, showing for the petitioner, stated the final time the courtroom requested the corporate if Israeli sypware Pegasus has breached their system, it acknowledged that the problem was not pleaded within the petition, which is improper.
The bench stated that it proposes that the petition be tagged with the same plea pending within the prime courtroom and requested the Centre to file an affidavit on the problem of adware.
Venugopal stated that until date Facebook and WhatsApp haven’t filed a counter-affidavit within the matter, regardless of the petition being pending for months and they need to even be requested to file counter-affidavit. At the fag finish of the listening to, the CJI informed the counsels for WhatsApp that pleas difficult its new privateness coverage are pending earlier than the Supreme Court and posted the matter for additional listening to after 4 weeks.
In its affidavit, the RBI has informed the highest courtroom that it has no duty to conduct “audit of members of United Payments Interface (UPI) ecosystem” and duty to make sure that non-public corporations like Google and WhatsApp adjust to norms lies with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The RBI additionally stated that the issues associated to “data privacy and data sharing” are the area of the central authorities.
It additionally sought dismissal of the PIL filed by Viswam searching for path to it to border regulation to make sure that information collected on UPI platforms shouldn’t be “exploited” or utilized in any method aside from for processing funds.
The affidavit stated: “It is submitted that RBI”s directions issued vide circular dated April 6, 2018 on storage of payment system data pertain only to payment date storage and not sharing or privacy. RBI has not issued any instructions on data sharing by TPAPs (Third Party Application Providers) or the participants of UPI. Matters related to data privacy and data sharing come under the domain of Government of India.”
It stated that since NPCI is the proprietor and operator of the UPI, it could be extra acceptable for them to reply on the standing of “compliance of WhatsApp with the system rules /procedural guidelines governing UPI”.
Earlier, WhatsApp had denied in the court the allegations that its data can be hacked by Israeli sypware Pegasus, which had led to a controversy last year over breach of privacy following claims that Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities.
Prior to this, the apex court on October 15, last year had issued notice to RBI and others on the plea of Viswam seeking direction for framing regulation to ensure that data collected on UPI platforms is not “exploited” or utilized in any method aside from for processing funds.
It had additionally sought responses of the Centre, RBI, NPCI and others together with Google, Facebook, WhatsApp and Amazon on the plea.
“The RBI and NPCI have permitted the three members of ”Big Four Tech Giants” i.e. Amazon, Google and Facebook/WhatsApp (Beta phase) to participate in the UPI ecosystem without much scrutiny and in spite of blatant violations of UPI guidelines and RBI regulations,” the plea has claimed.
The plea has alleged that this conduct of RBI and NPCI put the sensitive financial data of Indian users at huge risks, especially when these entities have been “continuously accused of abusing dominance and compromising data”, among other things.
It said these allegations have become particularly worrisome at a time when India has banned host of Chinese applications on the ground that those applications were or could be used for data theft and could lead to security breaches.
It has further sought a direction that RBI and NPCI should ensure that WhatsApp is not permitted to launch full scale operations of ”WhatsApp Pay” in India without fulfilling all legal compliances to the satisfaction of the court regarding requisite regulatory compliances.