CCI’s WhatsApp investigation concerned with privacy: Delhi HC
This comes after CCI stated that it is not examining the violation of user privacy.
What is the issue with the order?
The Competition Commission of India was established to ensure healthy competition in the market. It ensures there are no unfair practices in the market that can undermine healthy competition.
The Statement of Intent and Objectives of the Competition Act, 2002 empowers the CCI to act in the interest of consumers. However, any CCI intervention must be based on the investigated party’s anticompetitive conduct.
CCI’s investigation order tends focus on consumer welfare rather than free-market security. Therefore, the question is whether a perceived threat to consumer protection amounts to anti-competitive behavior and, as a result, warrants DG investigation.
Submissions of Parties
“There is no question of jurisdictional mistake. WhatsApp and Facebook’s appeals of the CCI’s decision were “incompetent and misconceived.”
He further submitted that only on investigation could one determine whether WhatsApp’s data collection and data sharing (with Facebook) violated antitrust rules. This investigation was only an administrative proceeding having no immediate civil consequences.
Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Harish Salve represented Facebook and WhatsApp. They have challenged the CCI’s March 24 order against WhatsApp.
“It is like a trigger happy jurisdiction”
WhatsApp can choose whether or not to share data generated on its system, they asserted. The CCI cannot dictate what is excessive and what is not unless there is a policy on data collection.
The HC has reserved its order.
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