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WhatsApp Demands Indian Government on Law Breaking Cryptography

Illustration for the article titled The Indian government wants to break the encryption of messaging, WhatsApp app

Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba (Getty Images)

WhatsApp is taking the government of India to court for a new warrant it claims to conduct mass surveillance of users in the company the largest market.

Reuters was first to report on the lawsuit filed in Dehli’s upper court, which WhatsApp confirmed to Gizmodo on Wednesday. The cause is WhatsApp’s attempt to push against it u “Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code“(Or” intermediate guidelines “, in short); a series of space technology regulations coming into force across the country today. Since the Indian authorities first launched the rules back in February, have drawn skepticism from legal experts and advocates of technology policies across the region who have criticized the law for being too broad in their attempts to fight major platforms. As Reuters points out, there is already at least one another case against the new rules that extend to the high court of Dehli for the same reason.

Specifically, the WhatsApp app focuses on a provision that states that all major messaging apps — including encrypted platforms such as WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram — need to give Indian authorities the power to “track” private messages. So far, when WhatsApp is approached by the authorities with requests for information, those authorities will have to ask about a specific account they can prove they are using the platform for something criminal. In short, the new mandate will mean that these same authorities can approach WhatsApp with a specific piece of criminal content, and order the platform to remove details about the account that was first taken to share it.

As always, please don’t take Facebook’s word for it. It’s silly I approached for a multitude of reasons. Experts anu already reported, there is really no way for platforms to separate whether an account actually creates this content itself, or whether they are simply sharing something they have found elsewhere. Under the new mandate, a WhatsApp user could have their account scrutinized by the authorities if they are trying to verify facts or alarms about a piece of problematic content.

WhatsApp pointed Gizmodo towards one company blog post calling directly this clause. “Traceability requires private companies to transfer the names of people who have shared something even if they did not create it, share it first, or send it to verify its accuracy,” the company wrote.

“Through such an approach, innocent people could be taken to investigations, or even go to prison, for sharing content that would later become problematic in the eyes of a government, even if they did not mean any harm by sharing it. in the first place. “

There’s also the fact – as technologists are detailed in the past — that is impossible to make an encrypted platform traceable without breaking that encryption, a move that will be compromising security of WhatsApp users to potential hacks.

WhatsApp encryption has been a persistent thorn in the side of authorities in India, where the platform has been linked to the spread of persistent – and harmful – misinformation. Towards the end of 2017, rumors circulating on the platform led to seven men being lynched violently, provoking WhatsApp to end strict limits along the way people could use the platform to transmit messages. Obviously, however, this has not been enough for Indian law enforcement agencies, which have repeatedly tried gets the company for traceability skills over the years.

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