In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court has issued a crucial warning regarding WhatsApp for prepaid mobile users who decide to change their phone numbers. The apex court's decision empowers mobile service providers like Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Idea to reassign these deactivated numbers to other subscribers after a specific time period has elapsed.
This ruling carries important implications for WhatsApp users, as the messaging app is intricately tied to their mobile numbers. To navigate this change, it is of paramount importance for users to take measures to safeguard their data before switching to a new phone number. After 90 days, mobile service providers can give the same number to a new user.
In essence, the Supreme Court's decision recognizes the need for efficient number allocation by mobile service providers and highlights the significance of preserving user data when undergoing a number change. It underscores the importance of responsible data management in the digital age, especially when it comes to widely used platforms like WhatsApp.
The Supreme Court has made it clear that mobile service providers can't be stopped from giving old numbers to new users once the required time has passed. They have emphasized that it is the responsibility of users to delete their data on WhatsApp or any other platform.
"The subscriber can prevent misuse of WhatsApp data by deleting the WhatsApp account attached with the previous phone number and erasing the WhatsApp data stored on the local device memory/cloud/drive. It is for the earlier subscriber to take adequate steps to ensure that privacy is maintained." - SC bench said
A group of judges, including Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti, rejected a request from advocate Rajeshwari. She wanted the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to tell mobile service providers not to give deactivated numbers to new customers.
"The cellular mobile telephone connection of a subscriber deactivated for non-usage/disconnection on request of subscriber, shall not be allocated to any other subscriber till the expiry of a minimum period of 90 days, or such longer period as may be specified by the licensee, from the date of deactivation/disconnection".