Indian Govt may ask WhatsApp, Snapchat and like to store and share user info

CIOL Writers
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The Indian government is planning to create fresh norms for the tech companies like WhatsApp, Snapchat, and e-commerce firm Amazon to retain user information and also guide them on how to save and share users' data.


Though this development is expected to receive opposition from the said parties, the government is aiming to make such systems for the law-enforcement agencies in order to access the information if they need it. WhatsApp, Snapchat, Gmail are used by million people, hence these companies are huge data repositories, which might be relevant to law enforcement investigations.

The government has also set up a committee to draft rules for Section 67C of the Information Technology Act. The committee is headed by additional secretary in the ministry of electronics and IT (MEITY), Ajay Kumar. The committee also has one representative each from the ministry of home affairs, DoT, department of personnel and training, Nasscom, Internet Service Provider Association of India (ISPAI), along with an advocate specializing in cyber law and a few officers from MEITY.

According to the newly-formed committee, the draft will also spell out what type of data has to be stored, in which format, and for how long.


Most of these companies are not even governed by Indian laws. Sharing of information between foreign firms and the Indian government has been a contentious issue.

Considering the latest development from WhatsApp to follow end-to-end encryption, sharing of information can become a controversial debate, according to ET report. The government's mandate may be impossible to implement with Snapchat, where messages disappear within seconds and are not even stored on the company's servers.

A spokesperson of the committee said, "This is a fairly complex issue, compounded by the general lack of understanding of mobile apps and over the top service providers. Even if it is for national security reasons, how much are these companies answerable to the Indian security establishment? And we do know how Apple refused to unlock the phone even for FBI."

Though these companies are yet to comment on this, companies which do not comply with the law can be levied a fine and its officers sent to jail for a term which may extend to three years.

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