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WhatsApp’s Future in India Uncertain: Company Threatens Shutdown Amid Privacy Concerns

If WhatsApp were to cease operations in India during the upcoming period, it wouldn’t be a novelty. The company informed the Delhi High Court that if it were compelled to break the encryption of messages, it would exit the country.

In reality, Meta, parent company of WhatsApp and Facebook, challenged the new IT rules in the Delhi High Court. The company argued that the new rules could jeopardize user privacy.

In court, WhatsApp’s lawyer highlighted three key points:

  1. The IT Rules 2021 undermine user privacy by compromising fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Indian Constitution. Such regulations are absent in many other countries, including Brazil. These rules contradict users’ privacy and were introduced without any consultation.
  2. The burden of storing vast amounts of data falls on us, and we are unaware of the government’s specific message requirements. This means that we would have to store millions of messages for years.
  3. The rules impose a significant financial burden on us as we would need to create new systems and infrastructure to comply with these regulations.

End-to-end encryption is a communication system where only the sender and the recipient are involved, and no one else can access the messages. Companies also cannot access users’ messages in end-to-end encryption.

Under the new rules, social media platforms are required to trace the origin of messages. WhatsApp will also have to find out who sent the message first and who received it.

The government said that companies do not adequately protect privacy.

Previously, the central government had told the Delhi High Court that WhatsApp and Facebook encrypt users’ information for business or commercial reasons. Therefore, as a matter of law, the company cannot claim to protect privacy.

In this matter, three major points have been raised:

  1. The government stated that WhatsApp does not have the authority to incite any disputes among users in India, as this would violate their fundamental rights.
  2. If the IT Rules 2021 are not implemented, agencies will face difficulties in searching for fake message sources. Such messages may spread on other platforms, potentially disrupting peace and dialogue in society.
  3. The internet should be open, secure, and trustworthy, and platforms should be accountable to users. No one should be allowed to infringe upon the fundamental rights of Indian citizens.

Arvind Amble

My name is Arvind Amble. As a tech enthusiast and writer, I'm fascinated by the ever-evolving world of technology, AI, IOS, Android, Software & Apps, and Digital Marketing. With a keen eye for emerging trends and a passion for innovation, I bring a fresh perspective to my writing, blending technical expertise with a creative flair.