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Are the IT Rules applicable to Apple’s iMessage? Here’s what an RTI has revealed

According to the IT Rules, any platform with more than 50 lakh registered Indian users is a significant social media intermediary. With 75 crore iPhone users, why isn't iMessage being considered as one? In response to an RTI filed by MediaNama on the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 applicability to Apple’s iMessage services, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said that ‘any messaging platform falling under the definition of intermediary in IT Act will fall under the ambit of the IT rules, 2021’. MediaNama had asked the Ministry, “Does Apple iMessage fall under the ambit of the new IT rules, 2021? If yes, please provide a status of its compliance. If no, please state why it does not fall under the ambit of IT rules, 2021.” The Ministry’s RTI reply also said that it "does not maintain compliance status of all intermediaries". What is iMessage? iMessage is a messaging service from Apple exclusively available to iPhone users. While the user base of iMessage is not clear, there are an estimated 75 crore iPhone users in India for whom iMessage is available as an optional service Why this matters: The IT rules enforce a traceability mandate on Significant Social Media Intermediaries (SSMIs) which says that as a last resort mechanism, an order may be passed requiring an intermediary to identify the first originator of a message. However, the contents of the message in this regard will not need to be disclosed and for messages originating outside of India the…

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I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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

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