Facebook’s own messaging app WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit in India to challenge new government rules that require provisions to be made so that users’ encrypted messages can be traced. WhatsApp says the rules “fundamentally undermine people’s right to privacy” and break end-to-end encryption on its platform.
WhatsApp also believes that message tracking is not only ineffective, but also very prone to abuse. Since traceability would force the best Android messaging apps to hand over the names of people who shared something even if they didn’t create it, innocent people could become involved in an investigation.
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In a post that explained the point of view on traceability, WhatsApp wrote:
WhatsApp provided end-to-end encryption throughout our app in 2016, so calls, messages, photos, videos, and voice memos to friends and family are only shared with the intended recipient and no one else (not even us).
“Traceability” is designed to do the opposite by requiring private messaging services like WhatsApp to keep track of who said what and who shared what for billions of messages sent daily. Traceability requires messaging services to store information that can be used to identify the content of people’s messages, thereby violating the guarantees offered by end-to-end encryption. To keep track of even one message, the services would have to keep track of every message.
The lawsuit comes a day after WhatsApp parents confirmed to Facebook that they will comply with the new provisions of the new IT rules. However, it is not yet necessary to appoint a resident complainant, a chief compliance officer and a node contact person as required by the new standards.