India said on Wednesday WhatsApp’s lawsuit challenging the new local IT rules is an “unfortunate last moment” attempt to prevent new regulations from going into effect in a clear act of defiance, and said the Facebook-owned firm didn’t raise any specific objection in writing to the traceability requirement after October 2018.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s Electronics and IT Minister, said WhatsApp’s refusal to comply with the guidelines, the deadline of which expired Wednesday, is a “clear act of defiance of a measure whose intent can certainly not be doubted.”
WhatsApp sued the Indian government earlier on Wednesday in a Delhi High Court, saying the world’s second largest internet market’s new IT rules could allow authorities to make people’s private messages “traceable,” and conduct mass surveillance.
India is the largest market by users for the Facebook-owned popular instant messaging service. According to government estimates, WhatsApp has amassed over 530 million users in India.
Prasad said any company’s operations in India is “subject to the law of the land.”
The Ministry of Electronics and IT said New Delhi needs to trace the first originator of a message for the “purposes of prevention, investigation, punishment etc. of inter alia an offence relating to sovereignty, integrity and security of India, public order incitement to an offence relating to rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material punishable with imprisonment for not less than five years.”
“It is in public interest that who started the mischief leading to such crime must be detected and punished. We cannot deny as to how in cases of mob lynching and riots etc. repeated WhatsApp messages are circulated and recirculated whose content are already in public domain. Hence the role of who originated is very important.”
This is a developing story. More to follow…