WhatsApp Files Case Against Government

WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court against the government's new digital rules that take effect today, saying these would compel it to break privacy protections to users.

WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court against the Indian government's new IT rules that will be enforced from today. According to WhatsApp, according to the new rules, the Indian government wants social media companies like WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, to trace the origin of messages shared on the services. Because of this rule private companies would be forced to collect and store billions of messages sent each day for the sole purpose of turning it over to law enforcement agencies. However, WhatsApp has said they have a policy of ‘End-to-End Encryption’. According to this policy, End-to-end encryption ensures that nobody other than the receiver can see a particular message. But the government’s new rule is completely against their policy as it will reveal who sent what to whom. This is why the company filed a case. 

WhatsApp said they have nearly 40 crore users in India. This new rule introduced by the government would violate the privacy of its users. WhatsApp's petition refers to a 2017 Supreme Court ruling that said privacy must be preserved except in cases where legality, necessity and proportionality all weighed against it. The petition asks the Delhi High Court to declare that one of the new rules is a violation of privacy under the constitution of India and the rule must be removed. WhatsApp has said, “Our company has worked with experts around the world to oppose any rules that force our company to violate the privacy of our users. We will continue our discussions with the government of India to come up with practical solutions to keep Indian safe.” Currently the Indian government sent a notice to all social media companies and have told them to respond and inform the government whether they have accepted the new IT rules. The government has asked them to reply ASAP, preferably on 27th May 2021.