IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

WhatsApp sues Indian government over new privacy laws

The law requires social media companies to identify users when authorities demand it, which could see the end of encryption

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit against the Indian government in a bid to block regulations that would force the company to break privacy protections for its users.

The case, filed at the Delhi High Court, declares that India's new internet laws violate privacy rights in the country's constitution as it requires social media companies to identify the "first originator of information" when authorities demand it, according to Reuters.

Even though the law requires the company to identify users accused of wrongdoing, WhatsApp said this is not possible in practice. As messages are end-to-end encrypted, it would mean that the company would have to break encryption for receivers, as well as originators, in order to comply with the new law.

"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," a WhatsApp spokesperson said to IT Pro.

India's new rules also dictate that social media companies must remove content within 36 hours of a legal order, appoint Indian citizens to key compliance roles, and set up a mechanism to deal with complaints. Furthermore, they must use automated processes to take down pornography.

The lawsuit is another example of the tensions between tech giants and Modi's government in India. Earlier this week, Indian police visited Twitter's office in Delhi to serve a notice to the country's managing director about an investigation into how it tagged posts by a ruling party spokesperson on its platform.

It labelled the post as "manipulated media" following complaints from the opposition party, who said the document shared in the post, which criticised the government's handling of the pandemic and was allegedly published by the opposition, was fake.

Featured Resources

Join the 90% of enterprises accelerating to the cloud

Business transformation through digital modernisation

Free Download

Delivering on demand: Momentum builds toward flexible IT

A modern digital workplace strategy

Free download

Modernise the workforce experience

Actionable insights and an optimised experience for both IT and end users

Free Download

The digital workplace roadmap

A leader's guide to strategy and success

Free Download

Recommended

Hackers claim to steal personal data of over a billion people in China
data breaches

Hackers claim to steal personal data of over a billion people in China

4 Jul 2022
Skills shortages expected to hit over 90% of Australian and New Zealand businesses
Careers & training

Skills shortages expected to hit over 90% of Australian and New Zealand businesses

28 Jun 2022
Why India wants to become a chipmaking powerhouse
components

Why India wants to become a chipmaking powerhouse

28 Jun 2022
Samsung fined $14 million over misleading water resistance claims across its Galaxy smartphones
Mobile Phones

Samsung fined $14 million over misleading water resistance claims across its Galaxy smartphones

23 Jun 2022

Most Popular

Actively exploited server backdoor remains undetected in most organisations' networks
cyber attacks

Actively exploited server backdoor remains undetected in most organisations' networks

1 Jul 2022
Raspberry Pi launches next-gen Pico W microcontroller with networking support
Hardware

Raspberry Pi launches next-gen Pico W microcontroller with networking support

1 Jul 2022
Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup
data breaches

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup

29 Jun 2022