DoT Seeks Views On Blocking Services Such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook in Specific Situations

In a shocking move, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) today sought views of the industry on technical measures that can be adopted for blocking mobile apps like Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc. in situations where national security and public order are under threat. The telecom department on July 18, 2018, had written to all telecom operators, the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI), industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and others and asked for their inputs to block the applications under Section 69A of the IT Act.

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“DoT in the letter had said that the Ministry of Electronics and IT and law enforcement agencies have raised an issue around blocking of certain mobile apps like Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telecom, etc to meet the requirement under Section 69A of IT Act,” an official source told PTI.

The Section 69A of IT Act talks about power to issue directions for blocking for public access to any information through any computer resource.

The law authorises the central government or any officer authorised by it to issue direction to block the information on Internet in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to them.

Recently, there have been widespread incidents of mob lynching in the country based on rumours spread through social media apps. The popular messaging app, WhatsApp, has been in the eye of a storm over abuse of its platform for circulation of fake news that resulted in incitement of mob fury.

An IT ministry official, who did not wish to be named, said, WhatsApp has not committed itself on “traceability” and attribution of messages, which had been one of the key demands of the government.

Hence, the ministry’s concerns have not been addressed, and the potential for misuse still remains, the source said. Last month, the government had expressed dissatisfaction over measures previously listed by WhatsApp for checking fake news that have, in several cases, triggered mob violence.

The IT ministry, in its message, had said that WhatsApp cannot escape from its responsibility for such rampant abuse of its platform and needed to find originators of provocative messages.

The government, in its second notice to the Facebook-owned messaging service, had warned that in the absence of adequate checks, it would treat the messaging platform as ‘abettor’ of rumour propagation and legal consequences will follow.

WhatsApp told the government it is building a local team, including India’s head, as part of steps to check fake news circulation.

The mobile messaging platform also said that attributing messages on WhatsApp would undermine the private nature of WhatsApp and create the potential for serious misuse. It added that the focus of the firm is on improving its platform and working closely with others in society to help keep people safe.

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17 Comments on "DoT Seeks Views On Blocking Services Such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook in Specific Situations"

 

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Thamilan daa
August 7, 2018 3:18 am 3:18 AM

I am not misusing anything. But dare to block. I will use VPN. Challenge.

Block everything and go to stone age. The govt cannot block nirav modi, vojay mallaiyaa etc from escaping from India and it is trying to block the services.

Vetkakkaedu.

dragonmonk
August 7, 2018 7:43 am 7:43 AM

@sudhakar ++

Rinu
August 6, 2018 11:47 pm 11:47 PM

The government must have the right to block them under such situations.

Sandeep
August 7, 2018 8:30 am 8:30 AM

No.law and order issue is govts inefficiency.wen u garland and felicitate mobs. For political ends u shud understand that it always comes back to bite. That’s ways happening now.they just want to divert attention from their misdeeds by now banning apps.if concerned people shud ask govts to stop fanning mob sentiments.if u can’t then at least stop supporting such anti people and anti freedom of expression laws

Rinu
August 8, 2018 1:00 am 1:00 AM

Hope the government implements it as soon as possible instead of waiting for opinions.

Sandeep
August 8, 2018 7:57 am 7:57 AM
@rinu u are grossly wrong.u don’t ban the knife coz someone used it to stab someone.instead one needs to concentrate on containing crimes. These so called blocks are going to become like the internet blackouts or the sec 66A that we had..the problems won’t get addressed but the govt gets one more excuse to trample over our rights.for once we should start questioning our govts on who actually started this mess and that’s where my previous comment was targeted.never ever trust govts.they r there for power and they will do anything for that.its our rights and checks on such arbitrariness… Read more »
Rinu
August 8, 2018 12:27 pm 12:27 PM

Well. The government must implement it in the interest of the nation.

Sandeep
August 8, 2018 1:21 pm 1:21 PM

Whos interest!!the govts!!ah leave it..u wont get it anyway.do u really think watsapp or the social media created these mobs.u know u can kill anyone with a knife.Why dont u go around on a killing spree?That why i said law and order.These are all politically motivated.Watsapp and all other apps are just the scapegoat and the collateral damage is your rights..the rights which our founding fathers found the edifice of a modern democracy.

Rinu
August 9, 2018 12:23 am 12:23 AM

It’s not your freedom but the nation’s that is of importance.

Prithvi
August 11, 2018 12:24 pm 12:24 PM

I agree with Rinu. Mobile Internet is not the same as selling knives. Whatspp must be banned if it is necessary for security. Amateurish reasons being given here by others without understanding the levity of the effect on the masses.

dragonmonk
August 7, 2018 2:34 pm 2:34 PM

@sandeep Well said.

Sanjay
August 7, 2018 10:12 am 10:12 AM

+1

Prithvi
August 6, 2018 9:30 pm 9:30 PM

Ask the public too .. after all the users have a stake in this as well 🙂

Sree
August 8, 2018 1:08 am 1:08 AM

Hehe, They have least interest in public. they Block anything public is using with freedom.

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