WhatsApp moves Delhi HC against new IT rules, says it is violation of right to privacy

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has moved the Delhi High Court challenging the Centre’s new digital rules that are scheduled to come into force from May 26, according to the media reports.

The messaging platform has approached the high court on the grounds that the new IT rules would cause WhatsApp to ‘break privacy protections.’

According to WhatsApp, Traceability would force private companies to collect and store who-said-what and who-shared-what for billions of messages sent each day. This will require platforms to collect more data than they need, solely for the purpose of turning it over to law enforcement agencies.

“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,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

“We have consistently joined civil society and experts around the world in opposing requirements that would violate the privacy of our users. In the meantime, we will also continue 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,” the spokesperson added.

The company has also added a page on the frequently asked questions section on its website, detailing the opposition to traceability requirements. Traceability, it said, breaks the protection of end-to-end encryption provided to every user as in order to trace one message it will have to trace every message.

“The threat that anything someone writes can be traced back to them takes away people’s privacy and would have a chilling effect on what people say even in private settings, violating universally recognized principles of free expression and human rights.”

WhatsApp’s petition is among the first to challenge the new IT rule.

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