ARTICLE 19 and partners have called on Indian authorities to protect private and safe communications by supporting end-to-end encryption and withdrawing plans to introduce rules that would undermine free expression and privacy.
In a letter to the Indian Government, ARTICLE 19, Electronic Frontier Foundation and digital rights organisations from around the world called on the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to withdraw the so-called traceability requirement under its Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code (2021 IT Rules).
The Rules compel private end-to-end encrypted messaging services to enable the identification of the ‘first originator’ of information on their platforms. Digital rights groups has already expressed its concerns about IT Rules’ chilling effect on Internet users’ freedom of expression and privacy, including the traceability requirement that puts strong encryption in India under attack.
End-to-end encryption is vital for private and secure communications. And while the Indian Supreme Court introduced a necessity and proportionality test when it recognized that the right to privacy as a fundamental right, the traceability requirement, in fact, is a disproportionate measure: it breaks encryption; threatens freedom of speech, privacy and national security of Indian people and businesses. Therefore, it is imperative to withdraw the traceability requirements under the Indian 2021 IT Rules.
Africa Media and Information Technology Initiative (AfriMITI)
Center for Democracy & Technology
Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) Electronic Frontier Foundation
Global Partners Digital
Human Rights Journalists Network
Internet Freedom Foundation
Internet Governance Project, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA Internet Society
Matthew T Roberts, President, Internet Society Liberia Chapter Privacy & Access Council of Canada
Ranking Digital Rights
Tech for Good Asia
University of Bosaso