WhatsApp’s users were very happy when the developers have enabled the end-to-end encryption for both messages and voice calls, but the application is breaking the Indian telecom rules and it might be banned soon. By adding end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp is now using a 256-bit key which is known only by the sender and the recipient. No one else will be able to decrypt the message, not even hackers or oppressive regimes, and this is not pleasing the Indian government, because its rules permits online services to use up to 40-bit encryption.
In this case, WhatsApp will need to seek permission from the Indian government to use higher encryption standards. This means that WhatsApp would need to submit the keys, but it doesn’t have them, and currently, all users who installed the latest update of this application are using it illegally, according to a report.
The Independent said that the Indian government hasn’t decided yet what action to take on this problem, but it will come to a conclusion soon. In India, OTT services don’t require encryption standards like telecom service providers and internet service providers, which require a license from the DoT to use 40-bit encryptions.
Asheeta Regidi, an Indian cyber law specialist, told Firstpost that “WhatsApp, being an intermediary, is expected to comply with directions to intercept, monitor and decrypt information issued under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Complying with such a direction will now be impossible for WhatsApp in view of its end-to-end encryption. Even before the introduction of this, since WhatsApp is not a company based in India, it may have been able to refuse to comply with such directions. In fact, compliance by such companies in regard to data requests from the Indian government has been reported to be very low.”
It’s unclear whether WhatsApp will need to give up on its encryption system in India, or it will be banned for not wanting to collaborate.
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