WhatsApp Warns of Mass User Removal Over Encryption Dispute
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WhatsApp Warns of Mass User Removal Over Encryption Dispute

WhatsApp is locked in a heated battle with Indian authorities over encryption and privacy. The messaging platform argues that breaking end-to-end encryption would compromise the privacy of its entire user base and set a dangerous precedent. This week, WhatsApp's counsel, Tejas Karia, told the High Court in New Delhi that if forced to break encryption, "WhatsApp goes." He emphasized that storing millions of messages for years would be required, as it's impossible to predict which messages would need to be decrypted.


The court asked if WhatsApp had faced similar requests elsewhere, to which Karia replied, "There is no such rule anywhere else in the world, not even Brazil." This highlights the global implications of this case, as yielding to Indian authorities could lead to similar demands from other countries.


Security agencies worldwide are eager to find easy solutions for lawful interception, but compromising encryption would have far-reaching consequences. European law enforcement chiefs recently called for technology platforms to enable access under lawful mandates, citing concerns like child sexual exploitation. However, WhatsApp argues that "traceability" would break its security model, effectively mandating mass surveillance and forcing messaging services to keep giant databases of private messages or add permanent identity stamps.


The hearing in India is scheduled to continue on August 14, with the outcome having significant implications for digital privacy and security worldwide.