Centre Responds to WhatsApp, Says No Intention to Violate Right to Privacy

Story Highlights
  • WhatsApp moved Delhi HC on Tuesday evening
  • The petition challenged the traceability provision of the new IT Lawsuit
  • MeitY states implementation of law only in imperative circumstances

India: Citing the right to privacy ruling of the Supreme Court, messaging giant WhatsApp moved the Delhi HC to challenge the traceability provision in the new IT rules 2021, contending that ” this breaks the end-to-end encryption of users and infringes privacy.”

In a petition filed Tuesday evening, the last day to comply with the new rules, WhatsApp said the provision requiring intermediaries to enable identification of the first originator of information on their platforms could also put journalists and activists at risk of retaliation in India and infringe upon rights to free speech and expression.

In response to the petition, MeitY said such rules are to be imposed on those where a matter of offense, investigation, or prevention arises. The Ministry also cited Union Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad in stating that the “Government of India is committed to ensuring the Right of Privacy to all its citizens but at the same time it is also the responsibility of the government to maintain law and order and ensure national security”. 

Stating another ongoing spat between the messaging app and the government, MeitY added,” At one end, WhatsApp seeks to mandate a privacy policy wherein it will share the data of all its users with its parent company, Facebook, for marketing and advertising purposes”. However, WhatsApp’s parent company on Tuesday stated that it will comply with the 2021 IT Lawsuit after resolving certain issues with the government.

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