wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SC dismisses case asking for Whatsapp licensing in India, but this isn’t over yet

whatsapp-cmn-ours

Updates below

Earlier: A case filed asking for the ban on messaging applications such as Whatsapp, which use end to end encryption, has been dismissed by the Supreme Court of India, MediaNama has learned. According to a Rahul Narayan, a lawyer present in court, the case got dismissed within a few seconds of being called out. “The case was dismissed as the court found no merit in the pleas raised by the petitioner. However, after the Chief Justice indicated that case would be dismissed, as there were sufficient number of government authorities taking care of national security, the petitioner sought to withdraw the petition, and approach an appropriate authority, with respect to the grievances raised in the petition,” Narayan said.

Update: “I will make another representation to the DoPT and the Ministry on Information Technology in two-three days, and will ask them to either hear the matter or reject it. If nothing happens, then I’ll go to the telecom tribunal (TDSAT), if they can look into the issue”, Sudhir Yadav, the RTI activist and a web developer, who had filed this case in the Supreme Court, told MediaNama. Before going to the Supreme Court, Yadav had made a representation to the DoPT and the Ministry of IT, but they “hadn’t taken any action.” If there isn’t any action from the government, Yadav will go back to the Supreme Court of India. Clearly, this isn’t over yet.

Note: It’s likely that Yadav is referring here to DoT (the Department of Telecom), and not DoPT

Yadav’s petition: What did he want and why?

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

What did he want? Yadav isn’t against encryption of messages. He wanted stronger encryption than 256-bit as long as the government got access to the private key when it wanted to decrypt any message. In April 2016, WhatsApp said all the messages exchanged on the app would have end-to-end encryption by default. As a result of this, even WhatsApp cannot read its users’ messages, making it virtually impossible for them to furnish any user data when governments requests it. Yadav had a problem with that.

“Whatsapp is owned by Facebook, and Facebook has another messaging app called Facebook Messenger. That has 256 bit encryption as well. However, they have the private key, so that they have the ability to provide information to the government if it is demanded. But they can’t do that with Whatsapp because they don’t have the private key,” he told Medianama in an earlier interview.

Why did he want it: He argues that the company’s decision to encrypt its messages end-to-end might put India’s national security at risk. “Compared to America, India is a poorer country with not as many resources and technology, and we’re in a troubled neighborhood with Pakistan, ISIS, and there are also Naxals (internally). We need keys so that we can protect the unity and integrity of India,” said Yadav in May.

The debate around end to end encryption

Governments across the world are pushing for lower encryption norms because that will help them break into all digital communications and storage, and check whether someone is a terrorist or not. Earlier this year, Apple locked horns with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over giving access to the iPhone of one of the attackers in the San Bernardino shooting. Apple refused to create a backdoor entry into iOS for the law enforcement authorities to get access to the attacker’s phone. The company argued that it will impinge on the privacy of its users as such requests from law enforcement authorities may not be limited to just this one case.

In India, draft encryption policy asked citizens to store all their communications in plain text for 90 days and banned bulk encryption systems. Such attempts create a system which not just the government but also hackers can exploit to compromise our security. Once such systems are built into software and communication networks, you will be vulnerable; the easier it is for governments to access your data, the easier it becomes for hackers as well.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

(more at: We are data)

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

Views

News

The US and other countries' retreat from a laissez-faire approach to regulating markets presents India with a rare opportunity.

News

When news that Walmart would soon accept cryptocurrency turned out to be fake, it also became a teachable moment.

News

The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.

News

In this excerpt from the book, the authors focus on personal data and autocracies. One in particular – Russia.  Autocracies always prioritize information control...

News

By Jai Vipra, Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy The use of new technology, including facial recognition technology (FRT) by police...

You May Also Like

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ