WhatsApp is challenging a new Indian policy requiring messaging services to “trace” the origin of particular messages sent on the services.
WhatsApp, owned by social giant Facebook, filed a petition late Tuesday with the Delhi High Court against the recently imposed India Information Technology (IT) rules, confirmed a company 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,” said the spokesperson in a statement.
“We have consistently joined civil society and experts around the world in opposing requirements that would violate the privacy of our users,” the statement added, but pledged to “engage with the Government of India on practical solutions aimed at keeping people safe, including responding to valid legal requests for the information available to us.”
India on Feb. 25 announced the rules, which makes it mandatory for social media sites to comply within three months. The new rules aim to make social media firms more accountable.
Under the new rules, firms are asked to appoint a local grievance officer, a chief compliance officer, and a nodal contact person.
None of the big players like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp have complied with the new rules.
However, Facebook on Tuesday said that they aim to comply with the provisions but want to have more discussions with the government on “a few of the issues which need more engagement ... Pursuant to the IT Rules, we are working to implement operational processes and improve efficiencies. Facebook remains committed to people’s ability to freely and safely express themselves on our platform."
Officials at the Communications and Information Technology Ministry could not be reached for comment.