WhatsApp sues India govt over new privacy regulations
WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit 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, sources said, Reuters reports.
The case, described to Reuters by people familiar with it, 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.
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 to break encryption for receivers, as well as "originators," of messages.
Reuters, which first reported the story on Wednesday, could not independently confirm the complaint had been filed in court by WhatsApp, which has nearly 400 million users in India, nor when it might be reviewed by the court. The people with knowledge of the matter declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
A WhatsApp spokesperson declined to comment.
A government official said WhatsApp could find a way to track originators of disinformation, a long-standing stance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, and that the company was not being asked to break encryption.
India's technology ministry did not respond to a request for comment.