CCI contends that WhatsApp privacy update is a competition issue
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has contended that WhatsApp is using its dominant position in India to force users to share information with its parent company, Facebook. The criticises is levied at the messaging platforms 2021 update where it states that WhatsApp will be sharing user data with Facebook to optimise recommendations for its users. The CCI believes that excessive data collection is getting in the way of creating a healthy competitive environment.
Facebook wants to challenge the CCI probe into its group companies and has filed a plea citing that there is an on-going case in the Supreme Court over the policy update. The litigator on behalf of the tech giant has argued that it is for the Indian Government to decide whether excessive data collection has anti competition implications not the CCI.
Furthermore, the litigator argues that the CCI probe into Facebook and WhatsApp is not about competition but rather about privacy and protection – which would fall under government purview as they are constitutional issues. The assistant solicitor general (ASG) argued that analysis of data collected by WhatsApp would give more information about an individual than actual physical stalking. Facebook is collecting this data for targeted advertising and customer profiling, so while the nomenclature has to do with privacy but the issues have to do with the competition aspect, contentds the ASG.
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.