WhatsApp questions government on invalid requests filed by the police

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WhatsApp has questioned Tamil Nadu’s government on its incorporation with the law enforcement agencies stating that the requests issued by the latter were either invalid or lacking critical data.

The Madras High Court earlier asked the Facebook-owned messaging platform if it confirmed with the Information Technology Act of India. According to reports, WhatsApp, in an affidavit to the Supreme Court, stated that the TN government had portrayed its efforts to cooperate with the law enforcement requests wrongfully and that it disagreed with the allegations that it had failed to comply. The firm also stated that the demands made by the Tamil Nadu government lacked crucial information like account identifiers, FIR numbers or valid legal provisions.

WhatsApp’s filing is a part of an ongoing hearing on its requests to transfer various cases related to social media regulations to the apex court.

By far, the company resisted the government’s attempts to access information on tracing the origin of messages, which would likely help cops to catch perpetrators of fake news on its platform. WhatsApp claims that end-to-end encryption doesn’t allow traceability. 

 

Encrypted messaging

Due to end-to-end encryption, the platform says that neither does it possess information of the originator nor does it have an existent legal obligation to share it. It claims that it had to reject multiple requests due to incomplete crucial data provided or invalid citation of statutory provisions like Section 66A of India’s IT Act which was struck down by the Supreme Court.

With almost 400 million active monthly users, India’s a vast market for WhatsApp. However, due to lack of content moderation on the platform, the app has been used to spread misinformation and fake news that leads to mob lynchings and other security issues in the country.

In the filing, it said,

“The requesting law enforcement agency asked that WhatsApp remove content from its platform, but WhatsApp is unable to remove content on platform-wide basis due to end-to-end encryption protocol. Under this protocol, WhatsApp is unable to see the content sent by its users, let alone remove that content on a platform-wide basis.”

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A passionate writer with bachelor’s in the field of English & Journalism. Other than being a bibliophile, some of her hobbies are travelling, photography and poetry.

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