WhatsApp Challenges New Intermediary Rules by Centre; Moves Delhi HC

Story Highlights
  • WhatsApp moves Delhi HC
  • Denies accepting the new law
  • Issues official statement to rationalize its denial

New Delhi: WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit against the Indian Government in Delhi seeking to block the regulations that come into force on Wednesday. 

The California-based Facebook unit denies accepting the new rule as it compels the social media giant to breach its privacy protections. The Facebook-owned messaging service filed its petition on Tuesday against the rules that will require it to “trace” the origin of messages sent on the service 

Issuing a statement today, a WhatsApp spokesperson 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.” 

The new rule demands WhatsApp to unmask only the wrongdoers, which the company says it cannot do solely, because all the messages are end-to-end encrypted, to comply with the law WhatsApp says it would have to break encryption for receivers, as well as “originators”, of messages. 

The Government of India pressed Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter three months ago to comply with the new digital rules that require them to appoint a compliance officer in India, set up a grievance response mechanism, and takedown content within 36 hours of a legal order.

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