Recently the company appeared to reject the Indian government’s request that they end encryption, where in a statement made to VentureBeat, WhatsApp said, “We remain deeply committed to people’s privacy and security, which is why we will continue to maintain end-to-end encryption for all of our users.”
For those unfamiliar, the Indian government had requested that WhatsApp bring “traceability” to the platform. This is because false information is being spread on WhatsApp over in India, and the government is hoping that traceability will allow them to trace the information back to its source.
To be fair, WhatsApp has introduced features to try and cut back on the spread of misinformation, but presumably this isn’t what the Indian government had in mind. The Indian government has also hinted at possible legal consequences should WhatsApp not give into their demands.
“When rumours and fake news get propagated by mischief mongers, the medium used for such propagation cannot evade responsibility and accountability. If they remain mute spectators they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action.” WhatsApp is not alone in defying the Indian government. Apple has also rejected the government’s request to allow an anti-spam app in its App Store citing privacy concerns, which based on the government’s wording could potentially lead to a ban of the iPhone.