Indian Attorney General KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court today that if national security is threatened, social media companies have a responsible party to share data. He said: ‘A terrorist cannot claim privacy. For Facebook and WhatsApp to say they cannot decrypt is not acceptable.’
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Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have about 400 million users in India. These apps allow users to exchange text, photos, and videos using ‘end-to-end’ encryption technology. This happens without the supervision of investigators and even the platform itself.
For some large Internet platforms, Venugopal said that the government plans to develop new regulations to manage social media. They will ‘keep in view the ever-growing threats to individual rights and the nation’s integrity, sovereignty, and security.’ He said: ‘These platforms can’t come into the country and say we will establish a non-decryptable system.’
Facebook lawyer Mukul Rohtagi said in court that Facebook won’t share user data with the Indian government. He also added that Indian law does not force companies to share data with government agencies. Plus, it imposes the responsibility of decrypting information on companies.
According to local media reports, in August this year, Facebook asked the Supreme Court of India to hear all cases involving privacy and restrictions on the use of social media. Today, the Supreme Court responded to this statement. It will merge all pending cases of the lower courts across India on this issue. Also, it will begin trials in the last week of January next year.