WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit against the Indian government in Delhi, requiring the Indian government to block the regulations that went into effect on Wednesday. Experts say this will force the Facebook department in California to undermine privacy protections.
The lawsuit requires the Delhi High Court to declare a new rule that violates the privacy rights in the Indian Constitution because it requires social media companies to identify the “first creator of information” when requested by the authorities. Although the law requires WhatsApp to expose only those who are known to have committed wrongdoing, the company said it could not do so alone in practice.
Since messages are encrypted end-to-end, they must comply with legal regulations, and WhatsApp said that this would break the encryption of the message’s recipient and ‘original senders’ requiring messaging apps to “track” chats is equivalent to requiring us to keep fingerprints on every message sent on WhatsApp, which will break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermine people’s privacy rights.
Issue over People’s Privacy Rights
In a statement, “We have been joining with civil society and experts from all over the world to oppose violations of our users’ privacy requirements. At the same time, we will continue to work with the Indian government to develop practical solutions to ensure the safety of the people, including responding to effective legal requirements for the information we have.”
A source familiar with the matter said that due to the risk of criminal penalties for violating IT rules, the company believes that it has no choice but to bring the matter to court. The source said that the company also opposes past laws or legal actions that may undermine end-to-end encryption, referring to an issue currently under review by the Brazilian Supreme Court.
The lawsuit intensified the increasingly fierce battle between the government of India and tech giants such as Facebook, Google’s parent company Alphabet and Twitter in one of its key global growth markets.