WhatsApp sues the Indian government to protect user privacy

A WhatsApp spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that messaging service WhatsApp is suing the Indian government in the Delhi High Court for challenging new rules that will force it to crack encryption, which may reveal the identity of the people who send and receive billions of messages on its platform.

“Civil society and technology experts around the world have always believed that the requirement to’track’ private information would break end-to-end encryption and lead to real abuse,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “WhatsApp is committed to protecting the privacy of people’s personal information, and we will continue to do our best to do so within the scope of Indian law.”

in a statement The Indian IT Ministry announced on Wednesday morning that it will only require WhatsApp to disclose who sent it if it involves “India’s sovereignty, integrity and security, and public order inciting crimes related to rape, pornographic material, or child sex.” information. Misuse of material. “

It also pointed out that rumors and misinformation spread through WhatsApp resulted in Lynching and riots In the past.

The ministry’s statement added: “Any business carried out in India is subject to local laws.” “WhatsApp refuses to comply. [rules] Is a definite act [defiance]. “

Of the 1.2 billion people who use Facebook’s WhatsApp, more than 400 million are from India.

Since 2016, messages and files sent via WhatsApp have been encrypted, which means that no one can see their content except the sender and receiver. WhatsApp has long stated that this is important to people’s privacy.But governments around the world, including U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, and Japan already Put pressure on apps such as WhatsApp to break encryption, Said that the inability to track who sent what posed a challenge to law enforcement.Digital rights organizations such as Visit now, this Electronic Frontier Foundation, with Mozilla Support WhatsApp’s struggle to maintain end-to-end encryption.Reuters First report Regarding litigation.

India recently promulgated IT rules A messaging platform like WhatsApp is needed to trace the content back to the sender. They also granted the Indian government the power to require the platform to delete content that violates “dignity or morality” and threatens “national security” and “public order.” If the company does not comply with the new regulations, its employees may face criminal proceedings.

in a Blog post WhatsApp stated on its official website released late on Tuesday that “governments that choose to enforce traceability are actually imposing a new form of large-scale surveillance.”

It also said that traceability would violate human rights. The WhatsApp post said: “Innocent people may be involved in investigations and even go to jail for sharing content that later became a problem in the eyes of the government, even if they did not mean any harm in the beginning.” “Anything written by someone. They can all be traced back to their threats, which will deprive people of privacy, and even have a chilling effect on what people say in private situations, which violates the generally recognized principles of freedom of speech and human rights.”

For global technology giants, India is a huge and important market. But recently, these companies have been facing pressure from an increasingly authoritarian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Last month, India Order Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube will block content criticizing the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.Earlier this week, Delhi police Visited After the platform, Twitter’s office marked some tweets by members of the ruling party as “manipulated media.”

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