Government Not Looking for Content, But Only 'Originator' of Messages
The Electronics and Information Technology Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that the government isn’t interested in the 'content or chats’ of the users; it is merely looking for the ‘originator’ of wrongful messages.
Particularly, messages subject to potential crimes for which the punishment is more than five years is what the government is interested in. Under the rules, if the message originated from outside the country, whomsoever shares it first in India with the others will be termed ‘originator’ and will be subject to punishment.
For finding the originator of the messages, social media platforms will have to lose their ‘end-to-end encryption’ technology for Indian users.
The Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) executive director Apar Gupta said that enabling this rule would greatly impact the privacy of Indian users. He said that this rule would increase the scope of cybersecurity threats/crimes and undermine users' privacy.
The messaging applications will have to tweak their operating models and tech infrastructure to implement such a rule. It is worth noting that WhatsApp had earlier refused to serve the government with the information about the origination of messages by compromising on its end-to-end encryption technology.
It will be interesting to see how Indian users react to this information and what course social media applications will take.