Delhi HC adjourns hearing on WA, FB appeals against new IT Rules to 27 Aug

Among other things, the new rules would require messaging services to trace the origin of particular messages sent on the service

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jul 30, 2021 2:04 PM
FB - WA

The Delhi High Court has adjourned the hearing on the pleas filed by Facebook and WhatsApp against IT Rules 2021 to August 27. Among other things, the new rules would require messaging services to trace the origin of particular messages sent on the service.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, sought adjournment from the Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh. WhatsApp has challenged the traceability requirements in the IT Rules as this will impact user privacy.

According to WhatsApp, 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 the end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people's Right to Privacy.

"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," a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

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. The rules, which came into effect from May 26, mandate OTT platforms, social media players and digital news publishers to set up a grievance redressal system for content related complaints.

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