Hours after Facebook owned WhatsApp sued the Central Government over new traceability clause in Delhi High Court, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad responded to the lawsuit against the IT norms. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) called WhatsApp lawsuit “an act of defiance”, after it refused to obey. IT ministry further clarified, that, ‘it respects privacy’, and does not want to violate it, but putting some restrictions will keep it in line.
Minister of Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “the Government of India is committed to ensure the Right of Privacy to all its citizens but at the same time it is also the responsibility of the government to maintain law and order and ensure national security,” further adding to his statement, he said, “none of the measures proposed by India will impact the normal functioning of WhatsApp in any manner whatsoever and for the common users, there will be no impact.”
Representing the government’s position, Prasad said that, the govt recognizes “Right to Privacy” as a fundamental right and will come with reasonable restrictions. “The Government of India is committed to ensure the Right of Privacy to all its citizens but at the same time it is also the responsibility of the government to maintain law and order and ensure national security,” the press release further stated.
As per the government, WhatsApp will only have to find the originator of any particular message, credible for serious offences, which will compromise the sovereignty or integrity of the country. It states “for prevention, investigation or punishment of very serious offences related to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order, or of incitement to an offence relating to the above or in relation with rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material.”
by “identify first originator of information” when demanded by authorities, through the traceability norm. “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,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said.