New Delhi: The Centre today announced new rules for OTT platforms, social-media companies, and messaging apps. The new rules mandates that platforms such as Twitter, WhatsApp, and Telegram will have to identify the originator of a message that is considered to be anti-national and against security and sovereignty of the country. What this rule means for Twitter and WhatsApp is that they will have to break their end-to-end encryption, making it difficult for them to comply with the government’s new IT guidelines. Also Read - Information Technology Rules, 2021: Govt Announces Guidelines to Regulate Social Media, OTT Platforms | Key Points
It must be noted that WhatsApp had denied the government’s requests for identification of “first originator” of the information earlier saying that it will break their end-to-end encryption model. “Building traceability would undermine end-to-end encryption and the private nature of WhatsApp, creating the potential for serious misuse. WhatsApp will not weaken the privacy protections we provide,” IANS quoted a WhatsApp spokesperson as saying in a statement in 2018.
Further, Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Ravi Shankar Prasad today announced that in case a tweet or a message has not originated in India, then the apps including WhatsApp must inform the government who received the message first in India. The social media intermediary, however, will not be required to disclose the contents of any message.
If WhatsApp refuses to comply with the government’s new rules, the platform can face a ban in the country.
How WhatsApp’s Personal Messaging Works
WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is used when you message another person using WhatsApp Messenger. End-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read or listen to what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. This is because with end-to-end encryption, your messages are secured with a lock, and only the recipient and you have the special key needed to unlock and read them. All of this happens automatically: no need to turn on settings or set up special secret chats to secure your messages.
This is What Govt Said on New Rules For OTT Platforms Including WhatsApp, Twitter & Telegram
“Significant social media intermediaries providing services primarily in the nature of messaging shall enable identification of the first originator of the information that is required only for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of an offence related to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order or of incitement to an offence relating to the above or in relation with rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years,” the government announced today.