IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said WhatsApp is seeking to avoid responsibility.
IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said WhatsApp is seeking to avoid responsibility.

WhatsApp users in India won't be affected, says Centre amid legal battle over privacy

WhatsApp had enough time and opportunity before the rules were enacted following consultations with the stakeholders, the Centre said adding that it can not be denied how in cases of mob lynching and riots, same WhatsApp messages are circulated and recirculated.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
PUBLISHED ON MAY 27, 2021 07:30 AM IST

The Centre on Wednesday clarified that the normal functioning of Whatsapp will not be impacted because of the measures the information technology ministry proposes to take if the platform does not comply with the new rules where the Centre wants the first originator of a message to be identified if required. The ministry specifically mentioned WhatsApp as it moved the Delhi high court and challenged the Centre's new rules, stating that this violates the right to privacy and the company's end-to-end encryption policy. The government said this last-minute challenge was clear defiance.

Here is what the government said:

Tracing the first originator is only the last step

The ministry clarified that the clause with which WhatsApp raised a problem is not the first step. When all other remedies will prove to be ineffective, then only this route will be taken following a law-sanctioned process.

Why knowledge of the first originator is important

The Centre has said that punishing one who started mischief leading to crimes like rape is in the public interest. "We cannot deny as to how in cases of mob lynching and riots etc. repeated WhatsApp messages are circulated and recirculated whose content are already in the public domain. Hence the role of who originated is very important," the government said.

WhatsApp should find a solution

The ministry on Wednesday said that the debate on whether encryption would be maintained or not is misplaced. WhatsApp should find a technical solution through encryption or otherwise so that privacy is maintained and necessary information to ensure public order and national security can also be obtained by the government.

Services won't be impacted

None of the measures proposed by India will impact the normal functioning of WhatsApp in any manner whatsoever and for the common users, there will be no impact, the Centre said.

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