New Delhi: The Central government has proposed stringent amendments under the draft of Section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) in an attempt to thwart the spread of fake news on social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.
By making changes to Section 79 of the IT Act, the Narendra Modi-led Government is seeking to get past the end-to-end encryption services available in WhatsApp, iPhone FaceTime and the Android phone backup. If the proposed rules are passed, then the Government can gain access to messages, images and videos sent through the chat apps in order to trace the origin of the message.
According to a report by The Indian Express, the newly proposed rules come under the draft of the Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018, Rule 3(9). According to the IT Rule, intermediaries like WhatsApp and Google will have to “deploy technology-based automated tools or appropriate mechanisms, with appropriate controls, for proactively identifying or removing or disabling access to unlawful information or content.”
The Government seeks to break the end-to-end encryption in order to solve certain law and order crimes, including lynching. Digital rights group Internet Freedom Foundation tweeted that the draft rules have been discussed in secrecy.
As per the amendments, any IT company or service with over than 50 lakh Indian users must have an office in the country. Moreover, the company is required to appoint a nodal officer who is available to work with the law enforcement agencies on a 24×7 basis. The draft rules have been clearly explained by Government officials to the representatives of companies like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Amazon, Yahoo, Twitter, ShareChat, India’s market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and the Internet Service Providers Association of India, said reports.