Campaign India Team
May 26, 2021

WhatsApp moves court against Indian gov, issues statement to explain concerns

Believes the new rule that requires social media companies to share 'first originator of information' will end platform's privacy

WhatsApp moves court against Indian gov, issues statement to explain concerns
WhatsApp has filed a legal complaint against the Indian Government.
This comes after the Indian Government wants social media companies to identify and share ‘first originator of information’ when they demand it. WhatsApp believes that this rule will end users’ privacy and the end-to-end encryption it offers. 
On the matter, a WhatsApp spokeperson said, “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. We have consistently joined civil society and experts around the world in opposing requirements that would violate the privacy of our users. In the meantime, we will also continue to engage with the Government of India on practical solutions aimed at keeping people safe, including responding to valid legal requests for the information available to us.” 
According to the statement, the Indian Government first proposed the concept of traceability in 2019. At that time, social media organisations told the Government that such a provision would violate the privacy of Indian users.
The IT rules published earlier this year, in addition to calling for 'traceability' risk criminal penalties for non-compliance and so WhatsApp believed that the organisation had 'no choice other than to seek the opinion of the courts'.
The company stated that it has approached the Supreme Court of Brazil for a similar matter. 
WhatsApp has stated that it opposes traceability in a blog post.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp was in the news after a privacy policy announcement which left users doubting the app’s security. In a chat with Campaign India, Will Cathcart, had then explained that privacy of the user is of utmost importance to the app.
The WhatsApp legal complaint comes following the Indian police visiting Twitter’s office in New Delhi on 24 May. This investigation began when a ‘manipulated media’ tag was added to a Tweet from a member of the Indian Government. 
Campaign India