The Delhi High Court said on Friday that it will hear requests from Facebook and WhatsApp to challenge the new IT rules for social media intermediaries on August 27, requiring the messaging app to “track” chats and make provisions to determine the top priority of information. Initiators. The reason is that they violated the right to privacy and are unconstitutional.
Chief Justice DN Patel and Jyoti Singh (Jyoti Singh) at the representative center’s Deputy Attorney General Tushar Mehta (Tushar Mehta) stated that he encountered some difficulties and urged the court to adjourn on August 27. The matter was listed on the day.
The request was not opposed by senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared in court for WhatsApp and Facebook, respectively.
The government announced the new 2021 information technology (intermediary guidelines and digital media ethics code) rules on February 25, and required large social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp to comply with these rules by May 25.
In its request, Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, stated that it requires middlemen to be able to identify the first information originator in India based on government or court orders, which puts end-to-end encryption and its benefits “at risk.”
WhatsApp has urged the High Court to declare that Article 4(2) of the Intermediate Rules is unconstitutional, ultra vires and illegal, and requires that any suspected violation of Article 4(2) be not held criminally responsible. This needs to be able to identify the first initiator of the information .
WhatsApp has arranged a center through the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as a party to the petition. It stated that the traceability regulations are unconstitutional and violate basic privacy rights.
The request stated that traceability requirements forced the company to crack the end-to-end encryption of its messaging service and the privacy principles behind it, and violated the basic rights of privacy and freedom of speech of hundreds of millions of citizens. WhatsApp communicates privately and securely.
It said WhatsApp enables government officials, law enforcement agencies, journalists, members of ethnic or religious groups, scholars, teachers, students, etc. to exercise their rights to freedom of speech and expression without fear of retaliation.
“WhatsApp also allows doctors and patients to discuss confidential health information in complete privacy, enabling customers to confide in their lawyers while ensuring that their communications are protected, and allowing financial and government agencies to believe that they can be without anyone Communicate safely while listening to their opinions. Dialogue,” it said.
“It is impossible to predict which message will be the subject of such a tracking order. Therefore, at the request of the government, the petitioner will be forced to establish the ability to identify the first initiator of every message sent on the Indian platform. This breaks the end. The end-to-end encryption and the privacy principles behind it violate the basic rights of users’ privacy and freedom of speech when they are not allowed,” the petition states.
It claimed that Rule 4(2) violated the basic right of privacy and failed to meet the three-part test set by the Supreme Court in the KS Puttaswamy decision, namely, legality, necessity, and proportionality.
It also stated that the rule violated the basic rights of freedom of speech and expression because it chilled even legitimate speech. Citizens would not speak freely because they feared that their private communications would be tracked and used to target them. End encryption.
Rule 4(2) stipulates that important social media intermediaries that mainly provide information services should be able to identify the first initiator of information on their computer resources in accordance with the requirements of judicial or government orders.
According to data cited by the government, India has 530 million WhatsApp users, 448 million YouTube users, 410 million Facebook users, 210 million Instagram users, and 17.75 million account holders on the Weibo platform Twitter.
The new rules were introduced to make social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Instagram, which have surged in usage in India in the past few years, more accountable for the content hosted on their platforms.
Social media companies must delete posts describing nudity or distorted photos within 24 hours of receiving the complaint.
It is worth noting that these rules require important social media intermediaries-mainly providing information services-to be able to identify the “first initiator” of information that undermines India’s sovereignty, national security, or public order.
This could have a significant impact on players such as Twitter and WhatsApp.