India’s IT rules undermine user safety, reiterate WhatsApp CEO on traceability clause

India’s IT rules: WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart raised concerns that other countries may follow suit saying, “The more some countries see other countries do it or push for it, the more they want to push for it, too”

New Delhi: Will Cathcart, CEO of Facebook-owned instant messaging app, reiterated his stance on the traceability clause in the new 2021 IT rules, saying end-to-end encryption undermines the security provided.

In an interview with tech publication The Verge, Cathcart explained, “With IT rules in India, the specific thing that these rules require is that you build a system [to comply] If someone comes to us and says, Hey, someone said the words “XYZ”. Tell us who was the first person to say the words XYZ. It is not private. And it undermines the security provided by end-to-end encryption. “

Indian IT rules violate the right to privacy: Whatsapp

WhatsApp has challenged the revised 2021 Information Technology Rules (Intermediate Guidelines and Code of Ethics for Digital Media), saying user privacy is in its DNA and requiring messaging apps to quit ‘they “trace” the discussions violates the right of individuals to privacy.

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On May 26, WhatsApp filed a lawsuit against the IT rules in the Delhi High Court. As quoted by the IANS news agency, a spokesperson for the world’s largest messaging app said requiring messaging apps to ‘track’ chats is like asking us to keep a fingerprint of every message sent on WhatsApp.

When asked whether the decision was political or not and whether it was limited to India only, Cathcart said, “I think it’s a political issue and a technical issue. The way they wrote the rules, and what they said is that they want it to apply only to people in India. But I think there is a larger political question.

He expressed concern that other countries might follow suit. “The more some countries see other countries doing it, or pushing for it, the more they want to push for it as well,” he added.

According to the September Economic Times report, the government underscored its stance in favor of traceability and made it clear that social media platforms such as WhatsApp must “rebuild their platforms” if law enforcement is to help track down traceability origins of all laws-make messages.

India said, “traceability has nothing to do with breaking end-to-end encryption.” While emphasizing the need for traceability, the government said it was “entirely possible” to assume that there is a “complete need” for national security and public order in the country.

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