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Kerala HC Halts Order for WhatsApp Traceability Amid Privacy Concerns

WhatsApp has challenged the Magistrate’s order on grounds that it violates freedom of speech and expression and does not fit well with Rule 4(2) of India’s IT Rules, 2021.

The Kerala High Court has stayed an order by an Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate summoning the WhatsApp India representative to provide details of the first originator of a message in an ongoing case, according to a report by LiveLaw. The Magistrate had directed the representative to appear in person before the Court in a complaint filed by a woman, a politician, alleging that a particular message circulated on WhatsApp has tarnished her public image, and is outraging and derogatory. In their notice to WhatsApp, as per the LiveLaw report, the magistrate had sought information such as mobile number, IP address, registration, login details, linked device details, connected email addresses, etc. of the individual who had first posted derogatory messages against the complainant. Meanwhile, WhatsApp has challenged the Magistrate’s order on the grounds that it violates freedom of speech and expression and does not align well with Rule 4(2) of India’s IT Rules, 2021 What is Rule 4(2) of the IT Rules, 2021? Now commonly referred to as the traceability clause, Rule 4(2) of the IT Rules, 2021, requires significant social media intermediaries to enable the identification of the “first originator” of any information on their platform under certain conditions. The information under Rule 4(2) is to be sought for "purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution, or punishment of an offense related to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order, or of incitement to an offense relating to the…

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Curious about the intersection of technology with education, caste and welfare rights. For story tips, please feel free to reach out at sarasvati@medianama.com

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