The government on Tuesday reiterated its position that whilst it respects the ideal to privacy, in particular situations law enforcement agencies want help and in such situations, technologies corporations want to share info. Encryption can’t be an excuse for not sharing information in such situations.
Ministry of electronics and IT (Meity) secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney stated, “While encryption is a welcome thing 99.99% of the time, 0.01% of the time when it is necessary to come to the assistance of law enforcement agencies to bring perpetrators of wrongdoing to justice, then we expect that encryption will not be held up as an excuse or as a sort of a silly excuse to deny that.”
The secretary, who was speaking through the Global FinTech Fest 2021, hosted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), stated that in a civilised society, law enforcement is a function that is entrusted by the society to a handful of folks, to act on their behalf, to make sure that lawbreakers do not get away with. He added that breaking down of secure encryption comes in as an excuse and it is getting used to mystify digital technologies.
Sawhney stated encryption is excellent when folks chat on a day-to-day basis, but asked what if a thing seriously incorrect, or a crime, happens, like terrorists speaking to every other, and that communication resulting in a thing untoward taking place in the middle of a city. “Then someone says no, no, no, that is encryption, you know it’s so sacrosanct. It is such a sacrosanct thing that it doesn’t matter what happens, that encryption is more important than law enforcement itself, I think I have a quarrel with that,” the secretary stated.
The government has currently notified new intermediary recommendations that make it mandatory for firms like WhatsApp to provide the very first originator of what is deemed as mischievous messages. This challenge of traceability has been a bone of contention involving WhatsApp and the government. WhatsApp has even challenged the new recommendations in the Delhi High Court, specifically the clause which needs it to provide the very first originator of what is deemed as mischievous messages by the government.
The new intermediary guidelines, which have been notified on February 25, are aimed at regulating all social media intermediaries like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, and so forth, as as nicely as more than-the-leading platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and stand-alone digital media outlets. While the recommendations relating to intermediaries have been currently in force from earlier, by means of the addendum, the government has tightened some clauses such as minimizing the time offered to some platforms to get rid of what is deemed by it as unlawful content, below Section 69A of the IT Act.