With India joining six other nations in demanding that tech firms build backdoors to deal with ‘significant challenges to public safety’ posed by end-to-end encryption, a Delhi-based digital rights and liberties advocacy group has filed an RTI plea, raising questions over the move.
In the petition, filed with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, and Ministry of Electronics and IT, the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF)sought to know if any legal opinion was sought before India became a signatory to the statement and whether the government planned to introduce any legislation pursuant to becoming a signatory. This follows an October 11 joint statement by seven countries — the U.K., the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, India and Japan — urging tech companies to work with governments to find solutions to ensure the safety of citizens, without eroding user privacy or cybersecurity. In the recent past, the Centre had demanded that WhatsApp help it trace the origin of fake messages.
However, the demand was turned down by WhatsApp, which pointed out such a move would undermine the privacy of users.