Telegram, the instant messaging app, has refused to hand over chat details of the ISIS module Ansar-ul-Khilafah Kerala despite several queries from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), The New Indian Express reported. During the trial of the module's alleged members, NIA court judge P. Krishna Kumar asked the NIA whether any attempts had been made to collect details about the module's Telegram channels and the identities of all their members. NIA prosecutor Arjun Ambalapatta replied that the agency had made several such attempts and sent queries to Telegram on many occasions. "But Telegram did not respond to any of our queries. They do not share any details about users and channels,” he said. How can Telegram refuse to comply? There are a few reasons for this, which were highlighted in recent submissions on intermediary liability and OTT services: Companies and servers located outside India: “… the fact that many of popular Platforms are owned by foreign entities and the servers of such foreign Platform operators are mostly located abroad, makes it further difficult for the Indian law enforcement agencies to get the required information/assistance in a time bound manner in case of violation of any provision under the IT Act and associated Rules.” [from Intermediary Liability submission] No representatives in India: For a number of these OTT services, there are no representatives in India, making it difficult to expedite any government request, no matter the urgency. Encryption keys stored outside India: “… all communication on these applications are generally encrypted and…
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