WhatsApp vs Govt of India Vs Lawsuit – An open discussion on Zee24Ghanta LIVE on 26th May 2021 at 8pm. Let us have some more insight.
With end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp chat, even WhatsApp does not know what people are chatting using their platform. They share with Facebook the meta data (like who is chatting with whom, external purchases, links clicked for visited external sites, etc); which Facebook most likely shares with external agencies, govt agencies; as well as use for showing paid banners ads to correct audience. But WhatsApp claim, they do not know exactly what people are chatting about. That’s the USP of WhatsApp.
The end-to-end encryption on one side helps in freedom of speech for citizens and their personal privacy; but on the other side it also helps terrorist groups, drug curtails, cyber criminals to mastermind & communicate their criminal activities on WhatsApp without getting detected.
Furthermore, with the increase of fake news, the government wishes to know the originator / source of such fake news. Without these not only anti-nationals within the country can mastermind riots; but the state sponsored hackers from across the border can create enough disturbance within the country hampering economic growth. With fake news & the consequences, the government of India will be busy subduing these internal troubles, rather than focusing infiltration across the border or cyber warfare. It is a good way to ruin the peace & growth of any country, if systematically done by external rogue countries. WhatsApp can be a safe haven for these activities.
While the law requires WhatsApp to unmask only people credibly accused of wrongdoing, the company says it cannot do that alone in practice. Because messages are end-to-end encrypted, to comply with the law WhatsApp says it would have to break encryption for receivers, as well as "originators", of messages.
So, will WhatsApp get banned in India, like they are banned in China or North Korea or UAE or Oman? Considering India being a democratic nation, it is difficult for the Govt of India to go in favor of an unpopular decision of either banning WhatsApp or forcing it to open up the chat encryption for all citizens. WhatsApp on the other hand has wisely filed a lawsuit, knowing well that this same court has always favored the “right to privacy”.
What I anticipate is that the tug of war will continue between Govt & the social media Data Privacy officer or nodal officer. Both parties know that there is no solution and have transferred the risk to court to take up the difficult decision (or no decision).
The choice is now between a “bomb blast” or a “Fake news” and “common citizen’s privacy”. And it is a deadlock. What is your choice. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.