WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit against the government of India over new laws expected to go into effect in the country on Wednesday (26).
The messenger, who belongs to Facebook, accuses authorities of creating legislation that “severely weakens” users’ privacy and could generate a large-scale surveillance program in the country. The purpose of the process is to prevent the measures from being applied.
Laws require apps operating in the region, such as messengers WhatsApp and Signal, to release mechanisms to track users’ activities. This even includes removing encryption from chats and storing data in a traceable database.
What the parties say
The new laws still allow the government to order the removal of content from the platforms within up to 36 hours, in addition to requiring a ‘compliance office’ to be established to handle complaints and verify that the rules are are complied with.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been at odds with online services for a while. Twitter offices were recently raided by law enforcement officials following disagreements with authorities. Modi has also called for messages calling new coronavirus variant ‘Indian’ to be removed and denied WhatsApp’s new privacy terms without removing user roles – and apparently winning this battle.
“A government that opts for mandatory traceability actually creates a new form of mass surveillance. To track a single message, services should track all messages. There is no way to predict what type of content the government of India will investigate in the future. Says the WhatsApp attorney responsible for the accusation. The case has yet to be heard by the courts.