On Whatsapp’s plea, Delhi High Court issues notice to the Indian government over ‘traceability’ clause in IT Rules

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On Whatsapp’s plea, Delhi High Court issues notice to the Indian government over ‘traceability’ clause in IT Rules
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  • Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Centre asking them to respond to WhatsApp’s plea.
  • WhatsApp had earlier challenged the traceability clause of IT Rules, 2021.
  • The clause requires messaging apps to ‘trace’ chat, which it says is against the right of privacy of users.
The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Indian government over WhatsApp's plea against a clause in the Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2021 that requires WhatsApp to ‘trace’ chats and identify the originator of a message.

WhatsApp in a plea challenged the clause, claiming that it was against a person’s right to privacy laid down by the constitution. As per a report in LiveMint, the judgement was issued by a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh who asked the Centre -- through the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology -- to file a response to the petition and also stay the implementation of the rules.

The Bench listed the matter for its next hearing on October 22. Facebook-owned WhatsApp had earlier filed a plea challenging the IT Rules at the Delhi High Court, urging the court to declare that one of the new rules violates the right to privacy and no criminal liability should be imposed on the company for non-compliance of the rule that requires it to trace messages.

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WhatsApp had earlier told Business Insider that the requirement of the IT Rules to ‘trace’ chats was equivalent to keeping a fingerprint of every single message sent, which will break the end-to-end encryption and undermine people’s privacy.

The IT Rules, 2021 were announced by the Indian government on February 25, 2021, to regulate social media platforms by imposing a code of ethics and mandating a three-tier grievance redressal framework. The traceability provision in the IT Rules allows authorities to ask social media firms to reveal the identity of any person accused of wrongdoing on their platform.

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