If you thought WhatsApp asking for all your data would take away your privacy, think again. The day you bought a smartphone or the day you installed a router at your place, ‘privacy’ became an imaginary concept.
Google tracks every single thing because their products run on one essential thing – data, and you willingly give it to them. WhatsApp’s new privacy terms and conditions shouldn’t disturb you so much.
Although, there is a chance that the one USP that you liked WhatsApp for – end-to-end encryption, might get eliminated soon. Let us see how.
New IT Rules In India
For a very long time, we have been going about regulating information with a very old IT Rules Act. Finally, the government of India introduced the new IT Rules 2021 or Digital Media Ethics Code in a press conference on 25th February.
It was chaired by the Law and Justice, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The main aspect of the new code is the ability to track the originator of a particular message at the request of the government. It also advises intermediaries to exercise due caution and discretion regarding sensitive information.
The introduction of the new code was aimed at bringing all social media and OTT services under a proper regulatory framework.
Any information related to the interests of sovereignty and integrity of India, and any security-related information should not be stored, hosted or published anywhere by any media company.
A Possible WhatsApp Ban
It is understandable why the government of a country would want to find out the originator of a message, especially when it is India, a country that faces terrorist attacks regularly.
The Indian government said that if a particular message related to national security interests did not originate in India, they should be able to identify the originator of the message.
WhatsApp has once already denied the request of the Indian government’s request to identify the origin of the message since the Facebook-owned messaging app’s team said it would break end-to-end encryption.
Although, the government justified their request this time saying they only need to know the person i.e., the originator of the message and not the message itself. That way, end-to-end encryption would not break.
But, no matter which way they try, it seems like end-to-end encryption definitely needs to be eliminated in order to track messages and originators of those messages. This big issue of not being able to find out the origin of a message comes soon after WhatsApp faced a serious warning from GoI to properly manage and eliminate misinformation.
There have been hints dropped by many tech blogs that there might be a possible ban on WhatsApp usage in India, if the company fails to comply to the new IT rules. Is this real? No one knows yet, only time will tell.
It will obviously take a lot of time for the new media code to be implemented in the country but we are seeing a very big problem related to data, privacy and surveillance in the world in today’s time and it only seems to be growing bigger.
Hopefully, better ways of keeping security intact will be found instead of carrying out all-out surveillance on the people of India.
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