New IT rules of the Government of India have been implemented from today itself. All major tech companies including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp must comply with these new rules. The new rules are yet to be accepted — something that has made people wonder if the services could be banned in India any time soon.
While reports now suggest that Facebook and Twitter will accept the new rules, WhatsApp has apparently sued the Indian government for the same. According to a Reuters report, the Facebook-owned messaging company has filed a complaint in the Delhi High Court. WhatsApp says that one of the new media rules would violate user privacy on its platform.
The rule under consideration here is one that requires social media companies to identify the first promoter of the information, if sought by the authorities. This is an issue because WhatsApp can effectively follow this rule, breaking the end-to-end encryption baked into its service for all its users.
In a statement to BGR India, a WhatsApp spokesperson was quoted as saying that “messaging apps need to “trace” chats to ask us to keep a fingerprint of every single message we send on WhatsApp. equals, which will break end-to-end.
encryption and fundamentally undermine people’s right to privacy.” In addition, the spokesperson said, “We are constantly opposing the requirements with civil society and experts around the world who would violate the privacy of our users.”
Apart from anonymous sources speaking to Reuters, there is currently no confirmation of WhatsApp filing a complaint in the Delhi High Court. However, the Indian government has been on a warpath against the social media platform and recently raided Twitter’s offices in India.
Therefore, it seems that WhatsApp will drag the Indian government to court, and oppose the new media rules. It remains to be seen when the court reviews the case, as well as the result as it can have a broad impact on India’s Internet services and online user privacy.