The Centre on Thursday requested the Delhi High Court to restrain WhatsApp from implementing its new privacy policy till a decision is made on the petitions challenging its validity, Bar and Bench reported.

The government made the request in an affidavit, which was filed in response to the petition against the messaging platform’s privacy policy.

The Centre argued that WhatsApp’s new policy violated the Information Technology Rules, 2011, in five ways. “It fails to specify the types of personal data being collected,” the government said. “It fails to notify user details of collection of sensitive personal information, provide an option to review or amend information, provide an option to withdraw consent retrospectively and guarantee further non-disclosure by third parties.”

The petitioners who challenged WhatsApp’s privacy policy had argued that the messaging platform did not even allow users to opt out of the new rules. “It [the new policy] further mandated that the person either accepts the new policy in operation or will lose access to WhatsApp by the 8th of February 2021,” they said, according to Bar and Bench.

The petitioners expressed concern that the data of the users could be used by Facebook-owned companies as well as third parties for business purposes.

The petitioners had also submitted that the Personal Data Protection Bill recognised the right to access and the right to objection, restriction and portability of data, which must be put into effect by the court and the Centre, according to Live Law.

In January, WhatsApp sent users a notification that it was preparing a new privacy policy, and it reserved the right to share some user data with Facebook. However, after facing massive backlash and with millions of users moving to other messaging platforms like Signal and Telegram, WhatsApp said it would push back the changes to May 15 from February 8. The company said it will do more to clear misinformation about the policy.

Last month, WhatsApp had indicated that it would go ahead with its controversial privacy policy and announced an outreach exercise to familiarise users with it.

“In the coming weeks, we will display a banner in WhatsApp providing more information that people can read at their own pace,” the messaging platform had said in a blog post. “We have also included more information to try and address concerns we’re hearing. Eventually, we will start reminding people to review and accept these updates to keep using WhatsApp.” The company said that it was committed to the protection of its users’ privacy.

On February 15, the Supreme Court had directed WhatsApp to give an undertaking that private data of users was not being shared with a third party. The court told the messaging platform that people valued their privacy more than money.