India: WhatsApp Launches Legal Action Against New Repressive Rules

Whatsapp Messaging has launched a lawsuit in Delhi’s High Court to prevent India from enforcing new social media rules that violate its privacy guarantees.

The new regulations, which went into effect on Wednesday, come amid heightened tensions between social media giants, such as Twitter and Instagram, and the Indian government which is demanding they remove some content. The Facebook subsidiary did not provide any further details regarding its action.

The courier notably opposes the government’s demand for “traceability”, which requires social media to provide details of the “first author” of messages when Indian authorities believe they are undermining sovereignty of India, state security or public order.

“Requiring messaging apps to ‘track’ chats is like asking us to keep a fingerprint of every message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and violate people’s fundamental right to privacy. people, “Whatsapp said in a statement.

Whatsapp, claiming to have more than 500 million users in India, however stressed that it would continue to cooperate with “valid legal requests” for information from the authorities.

Facebook and Google have said they are making efforts to comply with the new guidelines.

The Indian government has explained that it wants to establish rules that make social networks more responsible and stop the dissemination of “false information”. However, his approach is seen as a repression of his detractors.

This week, police visited Twitter’s offices in New Delhi as part of an investigation into the social network’s decision to stamp a tweet from a spokesperson for BJP, the ruling Hindu nationalist party, “media manipulated”. .

Sambit Patra, spokesperson for the BJP, had published a document that he presented as a project of Congress, an opposition party, aimed at denigrating the government’s management of the health crisis. According to Congress, the document was a forgery.

Last month, the government ordered Twitter and Facebook to remove dozens of posts criticizing Prime Minister Modi’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Twitter acceded to some government demands to ban accounts earlier this year, including criticism of its farm reforms opposed by thousands of farmers. The platform reversed this ban in February.