August 3, 2021

WhatsApp India subsidiary launches legal action against new social media rules

At a time when, due to the so-called “Indian” B.1.617 variant, the government of Narendra Modi is concerned about the degradation of India’s image in the world and is increasing the pressure on social networks, WhatsApp has launched legal action in Delhi’s High Court to prevent India from enforcing new social media rules that violate its privacy guarantees.

The new regulations, which took effect on Wednesday, May 26, come amid heightened tensions between social media giants, such as Twitter and Instagram, and the Indian government, which is demanding they remove some content. The Facebook subsidiary did not provide any further details regarding its action.

In particular, the messaging system opposes the government’s demand for “traceability”, which requires social media to provide details of the “First author” messages when the Indian authorities believe they violate Indian sovereignty, state security or public order.

“Require messaging applications that they” trace “The discussions are like asking us to keep a fingerprint of every message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and violate people’s fundamental right to privacy.”, says WhatsApp in a statement. The company, which claims it has more than 500 million users in India, stresses that it will continue to cooperate with “Valid legal requests” information from the authorities.

Facebook and Google have said they are making efforts to comply with the new guidelines.

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Pressure on social networks

The Indian government has explained that it wants to establish rules that make social networks more responsible and stop the dissemination of ” false information “. However, his approach is seen as a repression of his detractors.

This week, police visited Twitter’s offices in New Delhi as part of an investigation into the social network’s decision to stamp “Manipulated media” a tweet from a spokesman for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling Hindu nationalist party. BJP spokesman Sambit Patra had released a document he presented as a project by the opposition Party of Congress (AICC) to denigrate government management of the health crisis. According to the AICC, the document was a forgery.

Last month, the government ordered Twitter and Facebook to remove dozens of posts criticizing Prime Minister Modi’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Twitter acceded to some government demands to ban accounts earlier this year, including criticism of its farm reforms opposed by thousands of farmers. The platform reversed this ban in February.

Read also: Covid-19 in the world: India overwhelmed by the dead

The World with AFP