Gujarat Exclusive > National-World > Ravi Shankar Prasad says govt respects privacy, aim is to stop misuse of social media

Ravi Shankar Prasad says govt respects privacy, aim is to stop misuse of social media


Union law and justice minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday clarified that the new digital rules for social media intermediaries have been framed to stop abuse and misuse of social media. The minister asserted that the “right of privacy” of users.

The clarification comes a day after Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp approached the Delhi High Court against the new digital rules citing that it will lead to a violation of users’ privacy and end-to-end encryption of messages would not be possible.

What Ravi Shankar Prasad said

In a statement issued on Thursday, the minister said, “Government fully recognises and respects the right of privacy. Ordinary users of WhatsApp have nothing to fear about the new rules. Its entire objective is to find out who started the message that led to commissioning of specific crimes mentioned in the rules.”

“The obligation to reveal the first originator of an offensive message already in circulation relates only to offences relating to sovereignty, integrity & security of India, public order, rape, child sexual abuse. That too when other less intrusive measures are not effective.”

“The new rules require the social media companies to set up an India-based grievance redressal officer, compliance officer and nodal officer so that millions of users of social media who have a grievance get a forum for its redressal.”

“The new rules are only designed to prevent abuse and misuse of social media. Government welcomes criticism including the right to ask questions. The rules only empower the ordinary users of social media when they become victims of abuse and misuse.”

What WhatsApp said

WhatsApp, which has nearly 40 crore users in India, in a statement, said, “Requiring messaging apps to ‘trace’ chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy.”

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New digital rules

Social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter were given three months by the government to comply with the new digital rules, the deadline for which ended Tuesday. The new rules require these technology giants to set up a grievance response mechanism, remove content within 36 hours of a legal order and appoint a compliance officer in India.

This apart, companies are also required to develop automated processes for the removal of offensive content.  The Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code also provide that the major social media sites will lose their protection from legal prosecution for the content posted on their platform if they fail to comply with the government diktat.


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