WhatsApp Sues Indian Govt: New Media Rules Will Breach Privacy, Says Spokesperson

New Delhi: Even before the dust settled on the news that WhatsApp has filed a legal complaint in Delhi against the Indian government seeking to block regulations coming into force on Wednesday, the messaging app’s spokesperson has said that new media rules would break end-to-end encryption, ZeeNews reported.

“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,” WhatsApp spokesperson was quoted as saying in response to WION (part of the Zee Media network of channels) question on it suing the Indian government in Delhi High Court.

“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 spokesperson added.

GOI’s new IT rules

The Centre framed the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, in February in the exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011. They come into effect from today May 26.

Here is what they entail:

  • Social media platforms will have to remove offending content within 36 hours after a government directive or a legal order.
  • The intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, must establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving/resolving complaints from the users or victims.

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