WhatsApp Pushes Back on Encryption-Hostile Policies in India economictimes.indiatimes.com

Raghav Mendiratta, of Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, in March 2021:

Under Rule 4(2), it is mandatory for a significant social media intermediary providing messaging services to identify the first originator of a message if a competent court or executive authority orders that it is necessary to do so for the purposes of investigation and prosecution of certain offences punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than five years. Technical experts say that compliance with this requirement is not possible unless end-to-end encryption on messaging services such as WhatsApp is broken.

WhatsApp sued over these rules the same month and then, last week, threatened to leave India if it is required to comply with policies that threaten encryption.

Indu Bhan, Economic Times:

WhatsApp LLC on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that the popular messaging platform will end if it is made to break encryption of messages.

“As a platform, we are saying, if we are told to break encryption, then WhatsApp goes,” counsel Tejas Karia, appearing for WhatsApp, told a Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora.

This is a familiar threat from WhatsApp, but it feels particularly weighty in India owing to the its extraordinary popularity in the country. I have to wonder if WhatsApp is bluffing. Would it really abandon the hundreds of millions of users in its most popular geography?