WhatsApp knocks at Delhi High Court as they stand against the new IT rules list of the Indian Government. These rules have forced these messaging platforms to shift towards much stricter rules. The petition has been filed, challenging the constitutional validity of rules. It was filed on 25 May 2021.
“Requiring messaging apps to ‘trace’ chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy,” said, WhatsApp spokesperson.
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The spokesperson also highlighted that WhatsApp has always supported user privacy and has always opposed requirements that would violate the privacy of the user. “In the meantime, we will also continue to engage with the Government of India on practical solutions aimed at keeping people safe, including responding to valid legal requests for the information available to us,” said the spokesperson of WhatsApp
“The Information Technology Rules, 2021 were introduced in February, on 25th. Companies were given 3 month period to make amendments in their system and comply with what rules say. Especially, enabling the identification of the first originator of the message on the platform. Under section 69 by the Competent Authority as per the IT Act, it was passed.
“…in complying with an order for identification of the first originator, no significant social media intermediary shall be required to disclose the contents of any electronic message, any other information related to the first originator, or any information related to its other users,” is what one of the rules state.
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It actually is a big question for us as citizens to decide what is correct for this country. Finding out the originator of the message will help us trace negative elements of society. While on the other hand, it allows someone else into our personal space and privacy.
What does it mean for platforms that do not comply?
Non-complaint social media platforms will not be banned in the country as there is no provision either in rules or in the parent act that mentions the details as follows. It would surely mean you are not in good books.
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How did these platforms respond?
“We aim to comply with the provisions of the IT rules and continue to discuss a few of the issues which need more engagement with the government. Pursuant to the IT Rules, we are working to implement operational processes and improve efficiencies. Facebook remains committed to people’s ability to freely and safely express themselves on our platform.” – Facebook
“We respect India’s legislative process and have a long history of responding to government requests to remove content where the content violates the local law or our product policies. We have consistently invested in significant product changes, resources, and personnel to ensure that we’re combating illegal content in an effective and fairway, and in order to comply with local laws in the jurisdictions that we operate in. We realize that our work in keeping our platforms secure is never done and we will continue to refine our existing approaches, and evolve our policies and be as transparent as possible about how we make decisions.” – Youtube
Twitter didn’t comment on this.
From the reaction of these companies, we can guess a lot of string will be pulled to attain equilibrium and WhatsApp has taken the first step in a direction, which could be right or wrong. Taking a stand in what you believe is correct. Now there are other alternatives to these apps exist, it would be an exciting tussle between the two parties.