Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (File photo)
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (File photo)

Centre respects right of privacy: Ravi Shankar Prasad on WhatsApp row

ANI | Updated: May 27, 2021 14:38 IST


New Delhi [India], May 27 (ANI): A day after WhatsApp moved the Delhi High Court against the Centre's recent IT Rules, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Communication and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said the central government fully recognises and respects the right of privacy, adding that ordinary WhatsApp users have nothing to fear about the new rules.
Taking to microblogging site Koo, the Union Minister said the objective of the new IT Rules is to find out who started the message that led to the commissioning of specific crimes.
"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," he said.
The minister said the obligation to reveal the first originator of an offensive message already in circulation relates only to offences relating to "sovereignty, integrity and security of India, public order, rape, and child sexual abuse" and 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 the nodal officer so that millions of users of social media who have a grievance get a forum for its redressal," Prasad noted.
"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," he added.
Under the recently notified Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, social media intermediaries with more than 5 million users and providing messaging services will have to enable the identification of the first originator of problematic content that may harm the country's interests.
WhatsApp on Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court against the Centre's new guidelines that would require the messaging services to "trace" the origin of particular messages sent on the service.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said earlier in the day that the government is committed to ensure the right of privacy to all its citizens but at the same time it is also the responsibility of the government to maintain law and order and ensure national security.
He also said none of the measures proposed by India will impact the normal functioning of WhatsApp in any manner whatsoever and for the common users, there will be no impact. (ANI)

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