WhatsApp sues Indian govt, says new media rules mean end to privacy: Reuters

The social media giant WhatsApp has filed a legal complaint in Delhi against the Indian government seeking to block regulations coming into force on Wednesday that experts say would compel the California-based Facebook unit to break privacy protections, reported Reuters.

The lawsuit asks the Delhi High Court to declare that one of the new rules is a violation of privacy rights in India’s constitution since it requires social media companies to identify the “first originator of information” when authorities demand it.

May 25 was the last date for the intermediaries to comply with the new Rules of 2021.

WhatsApp submitted that the provision goes against the concept of end-to-end encryption as it would force private companies to collect and store “who-said-what and who-shared-what” data for billions of messages daily just for the requirement of law enforcement agencies.

The new lawsuit escalates a growing struggle between the Union government and social media giants including Facebook, Google and Twitter in one of their key global growth markets.

Delhi special cell police on Monday raided Twitter offices, drawing ire from internet community. The raid happened days after Twitter flagged some posts by ruling party leaders alleging a Congress plot to malign the Prime Minister and the Central Government as “manipulated media”.

“While the law requires WhatsApp to unmask only people credibly accused of wrongdoing, the company says it cannot do that alone in practice. Because messages are end-to-end encrypted, to comply with the law WhatsApp says it would have break encryption for receivers, as well as “originators”, of messages,” reads a Reuters exclusive report.

The news agency also said it could not independently confirm the complaint had been filed in court by WhatsApp, nor when it might be reviewed by the court.

The WhatsApp spokesman declined to comment.