The Indian government is looking at policing online content on social media including breaking end-to-end encryption: Report

  • The Indian government is looking at amending existing laws to detect ‘unlawful’ content posted on social media in the country ahead of general elections.
  • It has also proposed to break the end-to-end encryption used by messaging platforms like WhatsApp that ensures user privacy.
  • All social media platforms that use end-to-end encryption will be liable to respond to a query raised by the government within 72 hours once the rules are revised, Indian Express reported.
After authorising 10 central agencies to decrypt or monitor any digital message, the Indian government is now planning to revise certain rules to trace content on social media platforms to crack down on ‘unlawful content,’ The Indian Express reported

According to the report, the government has recently proposed a draft that seeks changes in rules under Section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) Act, making it compulsory for all digital platforms to deploy a technology that can search through online content. Moreover, the government also wants to disable end-to-end encryption, which does not allow even social media platforms to read user messages.

Once the rules go into effect, any social media platform with more than five million users will be liable to respond to a government query within 72 hours, said the report. As a result, all major digital platforms including Whatsapp that uses encryption will be affected. These platforms will have to undergo major technical changes that involve either altering the end-to-end encryption or completely disabling it, according to the report.

The proposal was reportedly discussed in a ‘confidential’ meeting that involved representatives of Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Amazon, Yahoo, Twitter, ShareChat, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and the Internet Service Providers Association of India

With elections 2019 around the corner, the Indian government appears to be becoming even more aggressive to regulate the use of social media platforms in the country. It has recently pressured WhatsApp to crack down on the menace of fake news in the country.

Whatsapp has been taking numerous steps to avoid misuse of the messaging platform in the spread of fake news and rumors leading to mob violence in India. It recently announced that it will award $1 million to 20 research teams globally to fight fake news. It also appointed Abhijit Bose as country head for India in the wake of the government demands.

See also:
Hyper-nationalism behind India’s fake news menace: Report
Here's what WhatsApp India head will take on as it sets out to establish its first full country team
India’s information and broadcasting ministry is discarding an important clause on paid news from its new press regulations bill
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