WhatsApp doesn’t want India to be able to work as Big Brother in its social media universe.

To that end, the Facebook (FB)-owned platform has sued the Indian government, in part because of strict guideline set to be imposed on users in that country, but more so because of what it perceives as “mass surveillance” involving the distribution of users’ private information.

WhatsApp confirmed Wednesday that the complaint has been filed with the Delhi High Court. 

At issue in the restrictions set to begin Wednesday, according to a CNN story, is that they require companies to stay in full and constant contact with law enforcement remove some types of content, including posts that feature “full or partial nudity.”

The primary problem WhatsApp has, though, is that service providers must hand over “first originator” of messages if asked by India’s governmental authorities.

India says it’s only related to serious crime, but that’s a slippery slope. WhatsApp argues this would basically end any guarantee of user privacy by seeking the tracking of every message.

“Requiring messaging apps to ‘trace’ chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to CNN Business. 

To the lawsuit, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in India said it was an “unfortunate attempt” made at the last minute.

“The government respects the right of privacy and has no intention to violate it when WhatsApp is required to disclose the origin of a particular message,” it said in a statement.

“It is WhatsApp’s responsibility to find a technical solution, whether through encryption or otherwise, that both happen.”

WhatsApp has 400 million users in India, its biggest market.

Add comment

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.