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technology | IST

WhatsApp files legal complaint against Indian govt, says new IT rules mean end to privacy

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WhatsApp has opted for a legal approach against the Indian government seeking to block regulations coming into force on Wednesday.

WhatsApp has opted for a legal approach against the Indian government seeking to block regulations coming into force on Wednesday. It has challenged rules requiring the identification of the ‘first originator’ of the message.
The lawsuit has asked the Delhi High Court to declare that one of the new rules is a violation of privacy rights in India's constitution since it requires social media companies to identify the "first originator of information" when authorities demand it.
WhatsApp said that tracing chats is equivalent to keeping fingerprints of every single message and that would break the end-to-end encryption.
"This would fundamentally undermine people's right to privacy," it said.
WhatsApp further said that it will continue to engage with the government on practical solutions.
Earlier, WhatsApp said that it will not limit the functionality for users not agreeing to its new privacy policy but will continue to remind users about the update, and maintain this approach till the forthcoming data protection law comes into effect. Days after the government directed the messaging platform to withdraw its new privacy policy, a WhatsApp spokesperson said the company has responded to the letter and has assured that the privacy of users remains the highest priority for the Facebook-owned entity.
Recently, WhatsApp has also seen a sharp drop in downloads in the months leading up to its policy update, both in India and globally, as per data from Sensor Tower, a mobile apps analytics firm.
WhatsApp announced a policy update in January 2021, which entails more sharing of data between WhatsApp, Facebook, especially on users' chats with business accounts on the platform. WhatsApp has been reiterating that the policy will not affect the privacy of users' personal messages. The update was originally to come into effect on February 8 but was pushed further following a backlash over privacy concerns.