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This article was published on January 14, 2020

Indian court demands data relating to university violence from WhatsApp, Google

Indian court demands data relating to university violence from WhatsApp, Google
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

In a ruling today, the Delhi High Court has asked Google and WhatsApp to store and provide data to the police relating to attacks on students by masked goons at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

On January 5, a bunch of masked attackers entered the New Delhi-based university and attacked students with rods and destroyed property.

The single person bench of Justice Brijesh Sethi asked for data of two particular groups: Unity Against Left and Friends of RSS. Screenshots of these groups — allegedly involved in organizing the attacks — started surfacing hours after the incident.

According to Live Law, Google agreed to handover basic subscriber information and data stored on Google Drive. The cloud service is used to store backups of WhatsApp conversations.

On the other hand, WhatsApp said they can share basic IP-based information, but it’s impossible to share chat messages as they’re encrypted:

We can’t share the content of the messages due to end-to-end encryption. It ceases to be on our server the moment it is delivered to the receiving person.

Plus, the court has also asked the police to seize phones of all 137 members of these groups as part of the evidence.

We’ve asked WhatsApp, Google, and Apple to provide more detail about the order, and what data they will provide to authorities. We’ll update the story if we hear back from them.

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