WhatsApp sues India government over internet regulations

WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit in the High Court of Delhi on Wednesday against Indian government challenging its second largest market’s internet regulations that would require the Facebook-owned company to provide access to encrypted messages. 

The case asks the court to declare that the “traceability” requirement is a violation of privacy rights in the Indian constitution because it requires social media companies to designate the “first originator of information” when the authorities request it.

“Civil society and technical experts around the world have consistently argued that a requirement to ‘trace’ private messages would break end-to-end encryption and lead to real abuse. WhatsApp is committed to protecting the privacy of people’s personal messages and we will continue to do all we can within the laws of India to do so,” WhatsApp said in a statement.

As messages are end-to-end encrypted, in order to comply with the law, WhatsApp says it would have to break encryption for recipients as well as the “originators” of messages.

“Requiring messages 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,” the company said.

The instant messaging firm will continue to engage with the government “on practical solutions aimed at keeping people safe, including responding to valid legal requests for information,” WhatsApp added in the statement. 

Written by Maya Robertson

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