The Indian Government’s new IT Rules go into effect starting today, and major tech companies including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp are yet to accept the new rules — something that led to people wondering if the services might be banned in India soon.
While reports now suggest that Facebook and Twitter will be accepting the new rules, WhatsApp has apparently sued the Indian Government for the same. According to a report from Reuters, the Facebook-owned messaging giant has filed a complaint with the Delhi High Court. WhatsApp says that one of the new media rules will violate user privacy on its platform.
The rule in question here is the one that requires social media companies to identify the first originator of information if demanded by the authorities. That’s an issue because the only way WhatsApp can effectively abide by this rule is by breaking the end-to-end encryption baked into its service for all of its users.
In a statement given to BGR India, a WhatsApp spokesperson was quoted as saying “requiring messaging apps to “trace” chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy.” Further, the spokesperson added, “We have consistently joined civil society and experts around the world in opposing requirements that would violate the privacy of our users.”
There’s currently no confirmation of the complaint being filed by WhatsApp in the Delhi High Court, other than the unidentified sources that spoke with Reuters. However, the Indian government has been on a warpath against social media platforms and recently raided Twitter’s offices in India. So, it seems likely that WhatsApp will drag the Indian Government to court, and contest the new media rules. It remains to be seen when the court reviews the case, as well as the outcome since it could have massive repercussions on India’s internet services and user privacy online.