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WhatsApp will Stop Operations if Compelled to Decrypt Messages: Company to Delhi High Court

WhatsApp, with its user base of over 400 million in India, emphasizes the importance of privacy features to its users.

Prabhav Anand26 April 2024 06:23

Representational Image

Representational Image

WhatsApp, the popular instant messaging application, has told the Delhi High Court that it would have to shut down if forced to decrypt messages, a feature that currently ensures only the sender and receiver can access the content of messages.

The parent company of WhatsApp, Meta, has contested the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules of 2021. According to these revised IT regulations, companies are obligated to trace chats to identify the originator of the message.

The company’s legal representative stated in court, “If we are instructed to decrypt messages, WhatsApp will have to cease operations.” He added, “No other country in the world, not even Brazil, has such a regulation. We would be required to maintain a complete record, without knowing which messages might be requested for decryption. This implies that we would have to store countless messages for several years.”

The representative further argued that the majority of WhatsApp’s 400 million Indian users primarily use the app for its privacy features. The company contended that “any regulations that compromise the encryption of content and the privacy of users infringe upon the fundamental rights assured under Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Indian Constitution.”

Previously, the Central Government had informed the Delhi High Court that WhatsApp and Facebook, which monetize user information for business or commercial purposes, do not have the legal right to assert that they safeguard privacy.

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