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WhatsApp traceability will be a part of new intermediary guidelines: MeitY

WhatsApp traceability will be a part of new intermediary guidelines: MeitY
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The need for the traceability of rogue messages on Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp will continue to be a part of the proposed amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011. 

In response to a Lok Sabha question, the minister of electronics and information technology said WhatsApp was an intermediary within the definition of the Information Technology Act, 2000. 

“The proposed amendments were published by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) website on December 24, 2018. The proposed amendments, inter alia, included intermediaries to enable traceability of the originator of the information which is expected to curb circulation of rogue messages,” read the response by minister of state for electronics and information technology, Sanjay Dhotre.

In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court in October, MeitY informed the court that it would notify the new intermediary rules by January 15, 2020. The submission was made in a case related to linking Aadhaar to social media accounts on Facebook and WhatsApp.

In a separate question raised in the lower house on Wednesday, MeitY further clarified that there was no proposal to link Aadhaar to social media accounts of individuals.

The ministry also said that it was collating the responses received for the draft data protection bill and “it is proposed to table the bill in the parliament,” without giving out a specific date. The ministry also said that personal data had been classified as personal, sensitive personal and critical personal data, as suggested in the draft Personal Data Protection Bill submitted by committee of experts under Justice B N Srikrishna.

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