In 2013, Blackberry was in a similar situation

Has WhatsApp made itself illegal in India
news Saturday, April 09, 2016 - 12:09

This week, hundreds of millions of WhatsApp users across the world, including in India, received an update that, by default, enabled end-to-end encryption of all chats.

 With this, WhatsApp claims that any message, video, or photo sent on the platform can be read only by the sender and the receiver.

This means that even WhatsApp will not have access to users’ content, and will not be able to provide government authorities with the means to access content.

The development came much to the delight of privacy campaigners worldwide, especially in the backdrop of the big feud between Apple and the US authorities over the unlocking of an iPhone belonging to one of the men responsible for shootings in San Bernardino in the US that left 14 people dead.

However, a report in The Independent claims that with this enhanced security, WhatsApp might have made itself illegal in India.

According to existing laws, only encryptions of up to 40 bits are allowed, while WhatsApp’s encryption is a 256-bit key, which requires special permission from the government that the company is unlikely to receive.

The report says that while the government has not yet indicated its position regarding the new encryption, there are precedents such as the row between Blackberry and the Indian government in 2013, when Blackberry had to give in to pressure from the government on a similar question of encryption and government access.

In 2013, Blackberry eventually let the Indian government monitor its servers but that seems unlikely in this instance, as WhatsApp itself will not have access to content on the platform.


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