India’s IT Rules Undermines User Security; Says WhatsApp CEO

WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart said that today India is asking to reveal first originator of the text, tomorrow some other country might push for it

Mumbai: Facebook-owned instant messaging app WhatsApp’s CEO Will Cathcart has said that Indian government’s IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules of 2021 undermines the security of the users that the end-to-end encryption provides.

In an interview with US- based technology publication The Verge, Cathcart explained, “With the IT rules in India, the specific thing that those rules require is that you build some system [to comply] If someone comes up to us and says, Hey, someone said the words ‘XYZ.’ Tell us who the first person is who said the words XYZ. That’s not private. And it undermines the security that end-to-end encryption provides.” It is no longer private to find the originator of a specific text.

The WhatsApp CEO further added that at present, India is asking to find the first originator of the text, tomorrow some other country wants to push for it as well. “The more some countries see other countries do it, or push for it, the more they want to push for it, too,” he continued. He also said that this a boarder political question.

As per the new IT guidelines, messaging platform with over 5 million user bases in India need to enable identification of the first originator of information. The Indian government has said that the information will only be required for the purposes of national security and law and order in the country.

On May 26, WhatsApp filed a lawsuit against the IT rules in the Delhi High Court. In the latest hearing of this case Delhi High Court had issued a notice to the center on WhatsApp’s plea challenging traceability clause under IT Rules 2021.

Since the beginning to this year, WhatsApp has repeatedly been in controversies in the country.

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