In response to a recent case filed by WhatsApp against India’s new IT rules, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has said that it respects the right to privacy and has no intention to violate it by asking WhatsApp to disclose the origin of a particular message.
MeitY’s statement comes hours after WhatsApp filed a lawsuit in Delhi High Court challenging the government’s new digital rules on May 25, 2021. According to Whatsapp, requiring messaging apps to trace chats is the equivalent of asking them to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy.
The new IT rules came into effect on May 26, 2021. The guidelines require significant social media intermediaries with over five million users to enable identification of the originator of any piece of information when asked by the government.