WhatsApp Could Share User Data With Indian Law Enforcement

The Indian Government is set to recommend new regulations requiring social media companies and instant messaging app suppliers to provide more information on senders. 

Under the ‘safe harbor’ law, companies cannot be held liable for what their users share on the social media platforms. The Indian law currently states that law enforcement agencies will have to produce a court order before sharing information on users. 

An anonymous source told TechCrunch that asking companies to comply with such requirements would be ‘devastating’ for international social media companies.

WhatsApp executives have insisted in the past that they would have to compromise end-to-end encryption of every user to meet such a demand – a move they are willing to fight over. 

Stakeholders claim to have been kept in the dark over the proposed changes, and “nobody outside of a small government circle has seen the proposed changes since January of last year”, said Shashi Tharoor, one of India’s most influential opposition politicians, in a recent interview with TechCrunch.

Software Freedom and Law Centre, a New Delhi-based digital advocacy organization, recommended last week that the government should consider removing the traceability requirement from the proposed changes to the law as it was “technically impossible to satisfy for many online intermediaries.”

“No country is demanding such a broad level of traceability as envisaged by the Draft Intermediaries Guidelines,” it added.

The government did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for a comment, and a WhatsApp spokesperson also declined.

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