The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to WhatsApp, and its parent company Facebook, in connection with a plea challenging its new privacy policy. The apex court has sought a response from the tech giants in four weeks.

“You may be a $2-3 trillion company but people’s privacy is more valuable for them and it is our duty to protect their privacy,” a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde told Facebook and WhatsApp.

The petition seeks that WhatsApp be restrained from implementing its new privacy policy in India and be directed to apply the privacy policy which is made applicable to users in the European Union region.

“In January, they (WhatsApp) have come up with a new privacy policy. One set of privacy standards apply to Europe and a different set of standards apply to Indians. This happens when the Personal Data Protection Bill is pending,” senior lawyer Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioner, told the top court, adding, “there is a huge differentiation between Europeans and Indians.”

In January, WhatsApp had renewed its terms of service and privacy policy, which were to come into effect on February 8. The date, however, has been exteneded to May 15 following concerns triggered by the new rules.

This new privacy policy asks users to agree to its new data sharing norms, a key point of which is sharing data from business conversations with Facebook, the owner of the messaging service. Since it was not optional, users were left confused and concerned about the privacy.

The new data-sharing policy, however, does not apply on users in Europe, the messaging app had clarified, because of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a robust law protecting privacy and data of people in EU. This differentiation has become a sore point of contention.

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