WhatsApp Backfires At Indian Government, Says New Rules ‘Break’ User Privacy

BY Sanuj Bhatia

Published 26 May 2021

WhatsApp Privacy Policy Explained

Just a few days ago, we learned that the IT Ministry of the Indian government had sent a notice to WhatsApp, asking the Facebook-owned company to backtrack its privacy policy. According to Reuters, WhatsApp has now filed a lawsuit against the government saying the new rules ‘break’ user’s privacy.

According to the new IT rules set by the Indian government, every social media and messaging service has to declare the “first originator of information” when authorities demand it. WhatsApp says that the new policy will for the company to break its encryption, and potentially reveal the identities of the people who’ve sent messages through the platform.

WhatsApp, in a statement, said:

“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.”

Read: What’s the Issue With WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy?

Facebook says that the new rules would break the user’s privacy in India, and the team is working with a bunch of ‘experts’ to come to a solution. The company says that the Indian government’s own ‘officials’ have also cited issues with the new policy.

India is the largest market for WhatsApp, with over 400 million monthly active users. The company rolled out a new privacy policy back in January, which sparked the whole privacy issue debate. Although WhatsApp’s new policy does not ask the service to share personal chats and group chats data, the Indian government still issued a deadline for the new rules as of May 26th.

The new guidelines ask the social media platforms to identify the originator of the messages and also keep an automated check on the content uploaded to their platforms. It asks these platforms to set up a grievance response mechanism and take down content within 36 hours of a legal order.

Google, Twitter, and Facebook all have yet to comply with the new IT guidelines.

[Via Reuters]