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WhatsApp moves Delhi HC against Centre’s new IT rules

As per the new rules, social media platforms will have to have a grievance redressal mechanism as well as grievance officer who shall register the grievance within 24 hours and disposal in 15 days.  

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New Delhi: WhatsApp on Wednesday (May 26) moved the Delhi High Court against the Centre’s recently imposed new IT Rules that would require the messaging service to ‘trace’ the origin of particular messages sent on the service.

“Requiring messaging apps to ‘trace’ chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy”, WhatsApp said in its statement.

The WhatsApp spokesperson said, “We have consistently joined civil society and experts around the world in opposing requirements that would violate the privacy of our users. In the meantime, we will also continue to engage with the Government of India on practical solutions aimed at keeping people safe, including responding to valid legal requests for the information available to us”.

The new guidelines issued by the Centre mandated a grievance redressal system for over the top (OTT) and digital portals in the country. Earlier on February 25, the Centre framed the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, in the exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011, which will come into effect from May 26.

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Briefing the media about the new rules, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that though the government welcomes criticism and the right to dissent, “but it is very important for the users of social media to have a forum to raise their grievance against the misuse of social media.” As per the new rules, social media platforms will have to have a grievance redressal mechanism as well as grievance officer who shall register the grievance within 24 hours and disposal in 15 days.

The Centre said that if there are complaints against the dignity of users, particularly women – about exposed private parts of individuals or nudity or sexual act or impersonation etc – social media platforms will be required to remove that within 24 hours after a complaint is made.

According to the new guidelines, social media platforms will have to have a chief compliance officer residing in India responsible for ensuring compliance with the rules and a nodal contact person who should reside in India for 24X7 coordination with law enforcement agencies.

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Not only this, but social media platforms will also have to appoint a resident grievance officer who shall perform the grievance redressal mechanism as indicated. They will have to publish a monthly report about the number of complaints received and the status of redressal.

(With inputs from ANI)

 

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