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Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images

WhatsApp filed a lawsuit against India's government in the Delhi High Court Wednesday over new rules requiring the company to make users' messages traceable.

Why it matters: The Facebook-owned encrypted messaging service says the regulations that take effect Wednesday violate users' privacy, which it argues is in breach of the country's constitution.

What they're saying: "Civil society and technical experts around the world have consistently argued that a requirement to 'trace' private messages would break end-to-end encryption and lead to real abuse," a WhatsApp spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Axios.

  • "WhatsApp is committed to protecting the privacy of people’s personal messages and we will continue to do all we can within the laws of India to do so."

The big picture: Tech giants are facing increasingly hostile foreign governments that are taxing their profits, attempting to halt their acquisitions, labeling them as monopolies and passing laws to limit their powers, per Axios' Ashley Gold.

  • In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has clashed with Big Tech over what it has called pandemic misinformation, as COVID-19 cases surge across the country.
  • Elite antiterrorism police officers visited Twitter's New Delhi offices Monday night over a warning label the firm had issued on some tweets, the New York Times notes. Critics say the real reason is the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is upset over public criticisms of its pandemic response.

Of note: While it's unusual for WhatsApp to file a lawsuit against a government, the company said it has "consistently opposed legal action that would break end-to-end encryption."

  • WhatsApp currently has a legal case before Brazil's Supreme Court that is challenging the constitutionality of blocking messaging apps.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Aug 18, 2021 - World

Facebook stands by its ban on Taliban

An Afghan reporter browses the Taliban's website in the newsroom at Maiwand TV station in Kabul in February 2019. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook and its entities Instagram and WhatsApp reaffirmed their ban on Taliban-related accounts Wednesday, citing the company's "Dangerous Individuals and Organizations" policy, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: How social media companies choose to handle the Taliban's victory in Afghanistan will impact how effectively the group is able to communicate to the people it will now govern.

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

Mitch McConnell's remarks on Black voters raise ire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Capitol Hill news conference earlier this year. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been widely criticized for comments he made this week about Black American voters.

Driving the news: When asked by a reporter Wednesday about concerns among voters of color, McConnell said "the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, Black American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."