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WhatsApp sues Indian government over new IT rule being in violation of privacy rights of users

WhatsApp has reportedly sued the Indian government in Delhi High Court over new IT rule that requires the chat app to break end-to-end encryption for users

In another clash with the Indian government over privacy issues, WhatsApp has filed a complaint against the country’s government in Delhi High Court. The complaint seeks to block the new IT rules that have come into effect starting today. These new rules are against WhatsApp’s privacy policy which encrypts the messages on both sender’s and the receiver’s end.

The lawsuit has been described to Reuters by the people familiar with it which says that one of the new rules that has been implemented asks social media companies to identify the “first originator of information” when authorities demand for it. And this rule is in direct violation of privacy rights of users in India’s constitution.

This is because it requires WhatsApp to break the end-to-end encryption for receivers as well as “originators” of messages, even though it is being done only to uncover the person being accused of the wrongdoing.

A WhatsApp spokesperson said in a prepared statement, “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 undermine 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”, he added.

Read More: WhatsApp responds to Government notice, Twitter office visited by Police over refusal to comply

However, Reuters hasn’t been able to independently identify the lawsuit by the social media company. In related news, ET recently reported that social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp still haven’t complied with the new regulations and may also become liable for criminal action if they fail to do so.

These new rules and regulations require any social media company with over 5 million users in the country to enable the traceability of the first originator of the information which WhatsApp is not in favour of. Not only this, but it also requires these companies to hire senior officials to deal with customer grievances and deal with the law enforcement as and when needed.

These rules further instruct the companies to clearly distinguish between verified users and others along with informing users about their blocked account with logical reasoning and also setting up automated tools for content filtration.

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