WhatsApp: Government of India sues to block new regulations

  •   07/06/2021 - 07h29
  •   DEHOUI Lionel

In the middle of March, a not convenient situation took place in the web world and especially on Facebook platforms. It was an outage encountered on platforms like; Instagram, Messenger and especially WhatsApp. A few weeks after this incident, WhatsApp launched a lawsuit against the Government of India in the Delhi High Court.

WhatsApp: Government of India sues to block new regulations

The implications of the new regulation

On Wednesday, May 26, the new regulation came into effect. It came in an environment of growing tensions between the major social networks (Instagram and Twitter). The government of India requires them to remove certain content. A demand against which the WhatsApp messenger has filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court. The objective is not to allow India to impose new rules on social networks.

It must be said that the subsidiary of Facebook is going against the request for "traceability" submitted by the Indian authorities. The latter require social networks to provide details about the 1st author of messages when they consider this information harmful. The Indian government sees these details as elements that undermine national sovereignty, public order and, above all, state security.

 

Views of both sides

The demand for traceability has a special significance. It would be like asking the social media to have and keep a fingerprint of every message on WhatsApp. That is, something that could break the end-to-end encryption and could violate the fundamental right of individuals to privacy.

It may be recalled that WhatsApp messaging is currently used by over 500 million people in India. However, it will continue to cooperate with respect to "valid legal requests" for information from government officials. In light of this situation, Google and Facebook intend to work to remain in compliance with the new guidelines.

India, on the other hand, is in the process of establishing rules that would make social networks more responsible. They will thus be forced to stop spreading false information.

 

Questioning the management of the health crisis

As for the Indian government's critics, they see the government's move as a repressive action. Just recently, Twitter's offices in New Delhi were raided by the police. The police were investigating the social network's decision to label a tweet by a BJP member as "manipulated media".

The BJP is a Hindu nationalist party that is currently in power in the country. The tweet follows the release of a document by the same person as a draft of the Congress (opposition party). The draft is said to be aimed at denigrating the Government's handling of the health crisis. This information was denied by the Congress, which designated the document as a fake.

Note: Last April, the Indian authorities ordered Facebook and Twitter to remove several dozen messages. They contained writings disapproving of the management of the pandemic by Prime Minister Modi.