Since the Government of India has implemented a new rule for Social Media sites, there is constant friction between Government and Social Media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. Though Twitter has finally accepted all the rules as prescribed by the government, WhatsApp and Facebook are not showing interest in the rules, but they have accepted a few of the points as stated by the government.
WhatsApp, a messaging application owned by Facebook is opposing the rules by stating it to be against the privacy of the individuals. They are against the point of tracing back the originator of the message. The government has made it mandatory for all Social Media platforms to share the information of the originator of the message so as to counter the spread of fake messages.
WhatsApp is standing on its point that this rule will be against the benefits of end-to-end encryption which they provide the users so as to retain their privacy.
The pleas have challenged the new rules on the grounds that they violate the right to privacy and are unconstitutional. WhatsApp has urged the high court to declare Rule 4(2) of the Intermediary Rules as unconstitutional, ultra vires to the IT Act and illegal and sought that no criminal liability be imposed on it for any alleged non-compliance with Rule 4(2) which requires to enable the identification of the first originator of the information.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice and asked the Centre through the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to file a reply to the petition as well as an application to stay the implementation of the Rules.
Furthur listening for this case would continue on October 22. The counsel for Centre said the main advocate was not available and sought an adjournment which was opposed by senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for WhatsApp and Facebook respectively.