The government said on Wednesday it respected the right to privacy and the requirement to trace the origin of flagged messages in accordance with the new IT rules is for the prevention and investigation of “very serious crimes” related to Indian sovereignty or public order. In a statement, the IT department cited WhatsApp’s final challenge to intermediary guidelines as an unfortunate attempt to prevent standards from taking effect.
The UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada all require social media companies to allow legal wiretapping. “What India is asking is far less than some of the other countries have been asking.”
“Therefore WhatsApp’s attempt to portray the Intermediary Guidelines of India as a violation of the right to privacy is wrong,” the official statement said.
The government recognizes that the right to privacy is a fundamental right and has an obligation to guarantee it to its citizens as well.
The statement added that IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has stated that the government “is committed to that Right to privacy to all citizens, but at the same time it is the government’s responsibility to uphold law and order and to ensure national security. ”
Prasad also stated that “none of the measures proposed by India will in any way affect the normal functioning of WhatsApp and will not have any impact on the common users.”
“The government respects the right to privacy and has no intention of violating it when WhatsApp is required to disclose the origin of a particular message.
“Such requirements are only given if the embassy is necessary to prevent, investigate or punish very serious crimes relating to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, the friendly relations with foreign states or public order or incitement to an offense related to any of the above or related to rape, sexually explicit material, or material intended for the sexual abuse of children, “the statement said.
The center’s response comes after WhatsApp filed a lawsuit with the Delhi Supreme Court against the government’s new digital rules, arguing that the requirement that the company provide access to encrypted messages violates privacy.