congress caught in dual stance

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Congress Caught in Dual Stance as they Take a Dig on Centre over WhatsApp’s End-to-End Encryption Policy

Congress in the midst of a dual stance…learn more…

Friday, 28th May 2021

With popular messaging service WhatsApp taking the Centre to court after their new IT Intermediary Guidelines, Congress has pounced on the opportunity to attack the government by making it a question of “Right to Privacy”.

Their accusations state the Centre is trespassing personal space through the controversial traceability clause introduced in the new IT guidelines that make it imperative for social media platforms to disclose the originator/source of a particular message, when probed by the Union Government.

Congress has gone to various lengths in their quest to criticize the government over the said clause, even calling it ‘draconian’ at one point. However, very recently, one of the party’s very own MPs had headed a committee that advocated the breaking of end-to-end encryption, a step that surpasses even what the Centre is demanding this time around.

A 14-member parliamentary panel that was headed by Congress member and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh, was formed in 2020 on the direction of Chairman Venkiah Naidu to study the disconcerting issue of pornography on social media and its effect on children and society as a whole.

The panel included other notable personalities like Jaya Bachchan, Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda and AAP spokesperson Sanjay Singh amongst others. The two main heads that the committee pondered on were- A minor’s access to pornographic material on social media and circulation of pornographic material on social media in which children are abused.

The panel had recommended countering the issue based on their study and one of the measures they suggested was to permit breaking end-to-end encryption that would aid in the tracking of distributors of child pornography.

Now WhatApp has moved Delhi High Court stating their inability to adhere to the new IT rules and the clause of ‘traceability’ as it undermines the public’s right to privacy.

The government however has clarified their stance in the matter and said the requirement of tracing the origin of flagged messages is only to preclude ‘very serious offences’ and will only be used as a last resort after appropriate legal authorization is taken.

Meanwhile, when Jairam Ramesh, who had led the ad-hoc committee in 2020, was questioned on their dual stance, said their recommendation on the traceability clause applied to the issue of child pornography alone and nothing else.

The News Talkie Bureau



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