Monday, 14 June, 2021

WhatsApp won’t limit user accounts in India for the time being

The Whats App messaging application is seen on a phone screen The Whats App messaging application is seen on a phone screen
Sandy Nunez | 26 May, 2021, 14:38

The government's rules for social media said that messaging platforms would need to make provisions for the "identification of the first originator of the information".

It adds 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 recognised principles of free expression and human rights.

"We have consistently joined civil society and experts around the world in opposing requirements that would violate the privacy of our users".

The Indian government was yet to react to the lawsuit.

It lays out that complying with the new Rules would result in a reversal of due process - while in most situations the tracing begins with the individual's account information, in this situation Whatsapp would have to search by messages or other media. Instead, we will continue to remind users from time to time about the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook.

While reports now suggest that Facebook and Twitter will be accepting the new rules, WhatsApp has apparently sued the Indian Government for the same.

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WhatsApp's new privacy policy, which allows it to share limited user data with Facebook and its group companies, has led to at least one legal battle in India, while the anti-trust regulator has also ordered an investigation.

The IT rules published earlier this year, in addition to calling for "traceability" risk criminal penalties for non-compliance. That's an issue because the only way WhatsApp can effectively abide by this rule is by breaking the end-to-end encryption baked into its service for all of its users.

On 25 February, the government rolled out sweeping regulations for social media and video streaming platforms, requiring them to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours.

India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) recently sent a notice to WhatsApp, asking the service to withdraw its controversial privacy policy.

The new rules mandate that the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, must establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving/resolving complaints from the users or victims.

"We have responded to the Government of India's letter and assured them that the privacy of users remains our highest priority", the company said in a statement on Monday.