from the the-kids-these-days dept
Sudhir Yadav appears to be a bundle of contradictions. He claims to be a “right to information” activist, yet he’s now trying to stomp out encryption. He argues that he’s addicted to WhatsApp, but he wants the Indian Supreme Court to ban it. He’s filed a “public interest” lawsuit with the Supreme Court arguing that (1) he’s addicted to WhatsApp because of its recently implemented end-to-end encryption and (2) that it should be banned because bad people might use it to, you know, plans raves and stuff:
Yadav claimed that he has only filed the petition because recently introduced WhatsApp encryption makes it impossible for the government to intercept and read messages exchanged between “suspicious people”.
“I know WhatsApp is a great app and I spend hours on it but this is about you and me,” he said. “If we know that information on drugs and rave parties is going through WhatsApp and the government can’t decrypt these messages, then it’s harmful to the country.”
And, yes, he also tossed in the “fear! terrorists!” argument as well, because of course. And it’s not just WhatsApp. He also wants a variety of other messaging platforms, such as Telegram, Hike and Viber, banned for using encryption (even though the implementations on many of those platforms is questionable). Of course, we don’t need to go through all the reasons why this is dumb. Strong encryption is much more likely to help protect the private information of the general populace from people looking to do bad things with it than it is to help terrorists in their planning. Could terrorists use it? Yes, just as terrorists can use other neutral, but important technologies for bad purposes. But we don’t go and ban them entirely just because they can be misused.
Meanwhile, Yadav is making this out like he’s being selfless in being willing to give up his WhatsApp:
“I love WhatsApp but I will have to find an alternative if it’s banned,” he said. “I don’t know if there is an app that good but I will keep looking.”
And what happens if SC decides that his petition doesn’t have enough merit? Yadav said that he will simply go back to using WhatsApp.
“I can’t do much if the SC thinks it’s not harmful for the nation’s interest. It’s not a personal issue, it’s a national issue so my usage won’t be affected.”
It’s a national issue for you to try to undermine the safety and data protection of hundreds of millions of people? Really?