WhatsApp sues Indian Government

Experts believe the legislation would force the California-based Facebook (FB.O) company to violate privacy protections.

TNI Bureau: WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit in Delhi against the Indian government, attempting to halt rules that are set to take effect on Wednesday, according to sources. Experts believe the legislation would force the California-based Facebook (FB.O) company to violate privacy protections.

The Facebook-owned messaging service filed a plea on Tuesday to overturn laws requiring it to “trace” the origin of communications received through the service, which it claims violates users’ privacy.

According to sources familiar with the lawsuit, it seeks the Delhi High Court to declare that one of the new laws breaches India’s constitution by requiring social media sites to identify the “first originator of information” when authorities seek it.

While the law compels WhatsApp to provide the identities of only those who have been credibly accused of crime, the firm claims it cannot do so on its own. Because communications are end-to-end encrypted, WhatsApp claims it would have to break encryption for both recipients and “originators” of communications to comply with the legislation.

Reuters, which broke the news on Wednesday, was unable to officially verify if WhatsApp, which has roughly 400 million users in India, had filed a case in court or when it may be considered by the court. Because of the sensitivity of the topic, those with knowledge of the situation declined to be identified.

According to a government official, WhatsApp could develop a mechanism to trace disinformation originators, which has been a long-standing policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, and the business was not requested to breach encryption.

A request for feedback from India’s technology ministry was not returned. WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook, and industry rivals have all made significant investments in India. However, industry managers privately worry that the Modi government’s growing heavy-handed regulation may jeopardise such prospects.

Facebook has stated that it agrees with the majority of the rules, but that it is currently negotiating some of them. Twitter, which has been chastised for failing to remove government critics’ messages, has declined to respond.

Some in the sector are hoping for a postponement of the new regulations’ implementation until these concerns are addressed.

According to individuals familiar with the issue, the WhatsApp suit cites a 2017 Indian Supreme Court verdict in favour of privacy in the Puttaswamy judgement. Privacy must be protected unless legality, necessity, and proportionality all weigh against it, according to the court. The law, according to WhatsApp, fails all three of these requirements, beginning with the lack of explicit parliamentary support.

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