Image Credit: WhatsApp, Inc.

Image Credit: WhatsApp, Inc.

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and social media platform Facebook over a plea seeking privacy on data.Seeking a reply in two weeks, the apex court asked the government, Facebook and Whatsapp to respond to the plea for privacy policy for social media networks."WhatsApp is a free facility, don't use it if concerned about privacy," the apex court observed.

Last week, a Guardian report stated that WhatsApp had a backdoor which could let third-parties snoop in on private conversations. WhatsApp later clarified, “WhatsApp does not give governments a “backdoor” into its systems and would fight any government request to create a backdoor.”

But this is not enough, at least for the time being, as Supreme Court of India has sought a response from both the center, Trai and Facebook with regards to a petition filed by Karmanya Singh through lawyer Harish Salve.

A petition filed before the Supreme Court has claimed that there is no protection of data on Facebook and WhatsApp which is violative of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. According to the petitioner, there are 157mn users on WhatsApp and Facebook, therefore the service provided by the social network and messaging app should be considered as a public utility service.

If a service is categorized as public-utility service, then the govt is mandated to protect the personal data placed on the domains of such services.

Further, the petitioner stated that Facebook and WhatsApp should be treated at part with telecom service providers who can face termination of licenses, if there is any snooping which comes to light.

The Supreme Court of India has sought a response from the center, Trai as well as Facebook within a two-week timeframe for the same.

In September 2016, the Delhi High Court had ordered WhatsApp to delete the data of users who had deleted the messaging app from their devices. Additionally, not share these users’ data with Facebook.