WhatsApp-Delhi HC Dispute: Platform Considers Exit From India

WhatsApp-Delhi HC Dispute: Platform Considers Exit From India

New Delhi. In one of the recent developments, the social media platform WhatsApp has told the Delhi High Court that it will effectively shut down operations in India if forced to break down the end-to-end encryption. 

Meta-owned company WhatsApp said that end-to-end encryption protects users' privacy by ensuring that only the sender and recipient can know the message content. WhatsApp said this while challenging the Information Technology Rules 2021.

According to the sources, the social media platform in the court said that people use WhatsApp due to its high-end privacy features. In India, at least 400 million users use the services which makes it the biggest market.

Tejas Karia, appearing for WhatsApp, while arguing in the court said that rules violate the fundamental rights of the users under Articles 14,19 and 21. 

Whereas, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, while virtually addressing Meta's annual event last year, had said, 'India is a country that is at the forefront... You are leading the world in terms of how people and businesses use messaging. Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp and Facebook, has challenged the Information Technology Rules 2021, in which they have been asked to trace the chats and identify the senders.” WhatsApp has said in its argument that this law weakens encryption and violates the protection of users' privacy under the Indian Constitution.

Government’s say

Kirtiman Singh, appearing for the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) opposed the tech company saying that if the rules were not implemented, the law enforcement agencies would have difficulty in tracing the origin of fake messages.

This move underscores the ongoing debate between tech companies and governments regarding user privacy and national security. WhatsApp, like many other platforms, places a high value on encryption as a means to safeguard user communications. However, governments often seek access to encrypted data for law enforcement purposes. This tension raises significant legal, ethical, and technical questions.


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