Will shut down in India if told to break encryption: WhatsApp to Delhi HC

Representative Photo

WhatsApp informed the Delhi High Court that it would effectively cease operations in India if compelled to compromise message encryption.

The Meta-owned company emphasized that end-to-end encryption safeguards user privacy by limiting access to message content solely to the sender and recipient.

Tejas Karia, representing WhatsApp, conveyed to the Division Bench that if instructed to undermine encryption, WhatsApp would cease functioning.

Karia highlighted the popularity of WhatsApp in India, with over 400 million users, underscoring the platform’s appeal due to its privacy features.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg had praised India’s leadership in messaging adoption during a virtual event last year.

WhatsApp and Meta are contesting the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, which mandate traceability of chats and identification of message originators.

WhatsApp argued that these rules jeopardize encryption and user privacy, asserting infringement of constitutional rights under Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Karia explained the impracticality of storing and decrypting vast quantities of messages, a requirement unique to India.

In defence of the regulations, Kirtiman Singh representing the central government stressed the importance of tracing message origins, deeming it crucial in the contemporary context.

Click to comment
To Top