Whatsapp and new information technology rules, 2021 and necessity for the rules and problems with this.

new Information technology rules, it rules 2021

The government of India has come up with new information technology rules – Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 in February this year which all intermediaries like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter have to trace or show or report the original sender of the message.

These new rules brought a gap between WhatsApp and The Government of India.

Leading mobile messaging app.

We all know that the world’s leading mobile app is Whatsapp, which WhatsApp have millions of users all around the world. And few months before WhatsApp itself had come up with new updates, which it shares the information which is done in the WhatsApp business account.

Note: There are many false messages, spreading in today’s internet world: WhatsApp can read all users messages and share them with the parent company, which is Facebook. That’s an absolute NO. In their privacy policy, they’ve told: they will store the information which is not delivered to other users.

(For instance, if you send a message to your friend if he is offline, WhatsApp temporarily stores that information, and when your friend comes online, a message will be delivered and saved message will be deleted) and also whenever we forward any media, it’ll be temporarily stored in encrypted form on their servers for better forwarding to others.

Here, no one in WhatsApp can read our messages or chats, because all are protected with end-to-end encryption

And they also set, automatically collection of information like when we are in online, offline..like this, just to provide a better user experience.

New IT rule of India

New Information Technology rules

We’ve seen how encryption works and how it is impossible to see any messages shared between people. But there are a lot of procedures available to see the messages or chats, in case of any urgency regarding the sovereignty of nation, integrity and security of India, incitement to an offence, public order, relating to rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse.

In all these cases, the government can read all related conversations by people who are involved in the above cases easily. Here, the new IT rules of India paves even forward way to collect information directly from WhatsApp. As I said, new IT rules strongly recommend all intermediaries should require to trace the originator.

Problems with ‘Traceability’.

For instance, I’m walking on the road and a person comes to me and asks my mobile to send a message to his friend, as a helping tendency I just gave my mobile, he also sent a message and leaves the place. But the message he sent was likely, (start attacking people who are participated in protest) which he shared with his friend. Here, I didn’t send this message, I just helped. But if WhatsApp traces the originator of that message, I’ll be locked.

So here, the problem with traceability is putting innocent people to risk. And people who don’t have digital literacy are prone to this problem easily. But in future, the government can come up with few regulations related to traceability.

The necessity for the rules.

As we’ve discussed, today a lot of fake messages are shared between people related to Covid, vaccination and governments. And we’ve seen a lot of news about people who are linked with terrorists. So as a precaution government have come up with this. In one perspective this is ok and in another perspective, these rules need few more guidelines.

WhatsApp’s arguments

When this matter went to HC of Delhi, Whatsapp argues that traceability will not work and that breaking end-to-end encryption may weaken user privacy and stifle free speech and freedom of expression, which we have by the constitution. And It also said that it will have to re-engineer WhatsApp just for India if it was to ensure compliance and that is not possible. And To trace the originator, it will have to keep a log of all messages and that will be the equivalent of a mass surveillance program.

Government’s response

The Government has called WhatsApp‟s refusal to comply with the new IT rules a “clear act of defiance.” The government said that it is committed to ensuring the Right of Privacy to all its citizens but at the same time it is also its responsibility to maintain law and order and ensure national security. It also said that the right to privacy will come with reasonable restrictions.

Digital literacy.

Even in many countries and states, people just use smartphones or iPhone just for the feel of pride. They are careless about this type of things. So creating awareness or promoting digital literacy is essential in today’s world. Digital literacy is not avoidable in this digital world. Whatever happens, self regulate yourself and live the life which you want and do not disturb others. 

Thank you for reading.

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Arun Kumar S
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