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#NAMA: The traceability mandate and what it means for end-to-end encryption

Key Takeaways Lack of clarity on originator: The rules do not clearly define who an originator is and fail to address the traceability of messages that are not in a forward chain such as copy-pastes and edited messages. Not possible to enable traceability without breaking end-to-end encryption: While the panellists provided certain ways in which traceability can be carried out without breaking end-to-end encryption, these methods work only in certain instances and/or are easily compromisable. Law should not dictate solutions: All panellists agreed that instead of dictating what a technology platform should do, the government should give the problems they wish to address and allow the technology companies to work on a solution. Government will not achieve its intent: Even if platforms enable traceability, the bad actors will find others ways to communicate and the rules will be unnecessarily penalizing genuine users instead. Will create a point of failure: If the government is given backdoor access to end-to-end encryption, this will inevitably be available to criminals as well and will compromise the safety and privacy of all users. Government does not care how it is implemented: The government is asking platforms to implement traceability by any method they want and is not asking for end-to-end encryption to be broken. It will also provide additional time for compliance if needed. The new Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2021 mandate significant social media intermediaries (intermediaries with over 5 million users) that provide services primarily in the nature of messaging to enable the identification of…

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