WhatsApp sues India's government

WhatsApp has sued India’s government over new laws the company says may end privacy protections there, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The lawsuit, sources say, claims one of the laws violates privacy rights outlined in India’s constitution.

It requires social media companies to comply with authorities' demands to identify message senders, or the “first originator of information."

While the law only requires WhatsApp to identify people credibly accused of wrongdoing, the company says it cannot do that alone in practice.

To comply with the law, WhatsApp would be required to break its end-to-end encryption of messages, both for those who send them and those who receive them.

Reuters could not independently confirm that WhatsApp had filed the complaint, nor when it might be reviewed by the court.

A WhatsApp spokesman declined to comment.

WhatsApp, its parent company Facebook and other tech giants have all invested heavily in India, but company officials worry that increasingly heavy-handed regulation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government could jeopardize those prospects.

Police visited Twitter’s offices earlier this week, after it attached a “manipulated media” warning to posts made by a spokesman from the dominant political party.

The government has also pressed tech companies to remove what it described as misinformation on the pandemic in India, as well as criticism of the government’s response to the crisis.

WhatsApp currently boasts nearly 400 million users in the country.

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