Citing the huge expose round the use of Israel-based NSO Group’s Pegasus adware to listen in on journalists, political opponents and activists made by The Washington Post and 16 media companions, the privateness-centered messaging app, from its official deal with tweeted, “Looks like the Indian government has been secretly attempting to surveil political opposition parties, journalists, activists, clerics, and labor unions. Interesting coincidence that they’ve also been advocating legislation to weaken encryption lately!”
Looks like the Indian government has been secretly making an attempt to surveil political opposition events, journalists,… https://t.co/I3QRFuZjrB
— Signal (@signalapp) 1626742801000
Tracing supply of messages: WhatsApp vs Indian government
Facebook-owned WhatsApp is combating a lawsuit towards the Indian government’s new ‘Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules 2021’ that wants end-to-end encrypted chat platforms like WhatsApp to disclose the origin of sure messages exchanged on its platform.
As per WhatsApp, revealing the supply of encrypted chats or using traceability violates the person’s primary proper to privateness. WhatsApp claims that to allow “traceability”, they’ll finish to break end-to-end encryption–which is its principal USP. The encryption gives privateness to customers but when governments are ready to learn messages and see who despatched what message to which customers then there can be no privateness left on the platform.
On the different hand, as per the government, it isn’t inquisitive about studying private chats of customers however the requirement for tracing the origin of WhatsApp messages is for prevention, investigation or punishment of very severe offences associated to the “sovereignty and integrity of India”. The government mentioned that the new IT guidelines are made in public curiosity and by refusing to comply with them, WhatsApp is avoiding accountability.
New IT guidelines apply to Signal, Telegram and different encrypted chat platforms as nicely
Soon after WhatsApp introduced its new controversial privateness insurance policies, many WhatsApp customers in India shifted to Signal messaging app or Telegram, fearing breach of privateness. Both Signal and Telegram have seen an enormous inflow of customers in India. Having mentioned that, if WhatsApp is pressured to comply with the new IT guidelines, rivals like Signal, Telegram and others can even have to comply with them.
The new IT guidelines should not only for WhatsApp. It applies to all giant social media platforms. Platforms with 50 lakh registered customers are thought-about ‘important social media intermediaries’ in India. “It is pertinent to note that the rule to trace the first originator of information is mandatory for each and every significant social media intermediary, irrespective of their method of operation,” as per a press release by the government in May 2021.