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Madras HC: Internet Freedom Foundation to act as an intervener in WhatsApp traceability case

On June 27, the Madras High Court approved Internet Freedom Foundation’s (IFF) plea to act as an intervener in the ongoing case that is now examining ways in which cybercrime might be curbed with the assistance of social media companies. The hearing lasted for more than an hour in Court No. 3, and saw representation from the government of Tamil Nadu, TRAI, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Google. The next hearing is on July 24, 2019. Kapil Sibal and Arvind Datar are expected to appear for WhatsApp. This case had originally been filed in 2018 as a PIL by Antony Clement Rubin (writ petition no. 20774/2018) and Janani Krishnamurthy (W.P. No. 20214/2018) that sought a writ mandamus (special order by court) to ‘declare the linking of Aadhaar or any one of the Government authorized identity proof as mandatory for the purpose of authentication while obtaining any email or user account’. In an earlier hearing, the division bench constituting Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad had expanded the scope of the PILs to include issues including curbing cybercrime and intermediary liability within the ambit of the legal proceedings. IFF becomes an intervener In its petition dated June 12, 2019, IFF had requested to be impleaded in the W.P. No. 20774 as an intervener as the issues discussed in the case ‘require expertise in areas of technology, policy, law and regulation which range from surveillance, intermediary liability, privacy and the freedom of speech and expression of individuals’. The objectives of IFF align with…

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