WhatsApp has moved the Delhi High Court against India’s new and stricter IT Rules that require instant messaging platforms to aid in identifying the ‘originator’ of message.
As per WhatsApp spokesperson “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,”
New Information and Technology Rule 2021
The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021’ were notified on February 25, giving social media platforms three months to comply. The rules state that intermediary providing messaging services will “enable the identification of the first originator of the information on its computer resource” following a judicial order passed by a court of competent jurisdiction or an order passed under section 69 by the Competent Authority as per the Information Technology Act.
New 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 break encryption for receivers, as well as “originators”, of messages.
“The new traceability and filtering requirements may put an end to end-to-end encryption in India,” Stanford Internet Observatory scholar Riana Pfefferkorn wrote in March
WhatsApp has asked the HC to declare one of the new rules as a violation of privacy rights as per India’s Constitution, since it requires social media companies to “identify the first originator of information” whenever authorities demand it.