WhatsApp Sues Government of India Over Anti-Encryption Law

WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit against the government of India over new laws that are expected to come into force on Wednesday (26) in the country.

The messenger, who belongs to Facebook, accuses the authorities of creating legislation that “severely weakens” the privacy of users and could generate a mass surveillance scheme in the country. The purpose of the process is to prevent the measures from being applied.

Laws require apps that operate in the region, such as messengers WhatsApp and Signal, to release mechanisms to monitor users’ activities. This even involves removing encryption from chats and storing data in a traceable database.

What the parties say

The new laws still empower the government to order the removal of content from the platforms in a maximum of 36 hours, in addition to requiring the creation of a “compliance office” to deal with complaints and inspect whether the rules have actually been complied with.

The government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been at odds with online services for some time. Recently, Twitter offices were raided by law enforcement officers after disagreements with the authorities. Modi has also called for the removal of posts calling the new coronavirus variant “Indian”, as well as refusing WhatsApp’s new privacy terms without removing user roles — and apparently winning this fight.

“A government that chooses mandatory traceability is effectively creating a new form of mass surveillance. To track a single message, services would have to track all messages. There is no way to predict what type of content the government of India will want to investigate in the future. “, says the WhatsApp lawyer responsible for the accusation. The case has yet to be considered by the courts.

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