India’s new IT laws at odds with WhatsApp
Messaging app WhatsApp has sued the Indian Government over the country’s new set of IT laws it has refused to comply with. WhatsApp is concerned that the Indian Government is compromising user’s data privacy for its own interest.
What are India’s new IT laws?
In February, the Indian Govt had asked social media companies to do the following:
In an online statement, the company said,
“Some governments are seeking to force technology companies to find out who sent a particular message on private messaging services. This concept is called “traceability.” Technology and privacy experts have determined that traceability breaks end-to-end encryption and would severely undermine the privacy of billions of people who communicate digitally. Reasonable and proportionate regulations for an increasingly digital world are important, but eroding privacy for everyone, violating human rights, and putting innocent people at risk is not the solution. WhatsApp is committed to doing all we can to protect the privacy of people’s personal messages, which is why we join others in opposing traceability.“
WhatsApp has also clashed with the Brazilian government over privacy issues and it has led to the app being suspended in the country before being allowed to function again.
What is the Indian Government saying?
The Indian government has maintained that the ‘originator of message’ part of its laws will be used to identify those trying to spread misinformation and participating in other criminal activities including child pornography.
Misinformation being spread through WhatsApp has become a serious problem in the country. There have been some instances of violence due to misinformation. WhatsApp has introduced some safety measures to prevent the spread if misinformation in India, but critics say it is not enough.
WhatsApp’s concerns over the Indian Government’s alleged intention to intrude on data privacy is finding support among those not considered friendly to the Indian government. India has become increasingly intolerant to criticism on social media. Twitter was asked to remove tweets that appeared to lash out at the government recently, as was Facebook.
Local police in New Delhi even visited Twitter’s headquarters in the Indian capital. An endeavour which has met with a huge backlash from netizens and was widely reported by media across the world.