The Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had announced new IT rules on February 25 and had given the social media platforms three months to comply with the new rules.
KATHMANDU, MAY 26
Facebook-owned messenger service WhatsApp has filed a complaint at the Delhi High Court stating that the new IT rules introduced by the Government of India enables violation of privacy rights.
On February 25, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had announced new IT rules and had given the social media platforms three months to comply with the new rules. The IT rules 2021 come into effect today.
According to the new regulations, the Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code, all 'significant social media intermediaries' or sites that host third party information, messages and posts will lose protection (of what they post on their site) from lawsuits and prosecution if they fail to comply.
The lawsuit, as per Reuters, has asked the Delhi High Court to declare that one of the new rules is a violation of privacy rights in India's Constitution since it requires social media companies to identify the "first originator of information" when authorities demand it.
"We have consistently joined civil society and experts around the world in opposing requirements that would violate the privacy of our users. 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 a spokesperson of the California-based Facebook unit.
Messages are end-to-end encrypted on WhatsApp. So if the messaging platform agrees to comply with the law, it would have to break encryption, revealing who sent what to whom.
Recently, the Indian government has resorted to many means to intervene into and have control over posts appearing on social networking sites, particularly those targeting the BJP government. It has, in the past, 'asked' Twitter to take down posts that targeted the government. On May 24, the Delhi Police, which falls under the centre's jurisdiction, had visited the offices of Twitter in India in a bid to seek explanation from officials on their rationale behind tagging a BJP spokesperson's tweet as 'manipulative media'.