Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The government has recently modified the rules concerning the safe harbour provisions in the IT Act for intermediaries such as Facebook and Twitter vide its notification dated February 25, 2021. This is to come into operation from, 26th May 2021. The notification requires all intermediary platforms providing messaging services to identify the “first originator” of a message trail and furnish this on demand to either the Court or the Government.

Facebook/WhatsApp has pointed out that this means breaking the security of the existing messaging protocol, and therefore of all those who use WhatsApp. This has been endorsed by technical experts. Weakening security protocols violate user privacy and increase vulnerability to hacking for criminal purposes as well.

Facebook, in tune with it’s observations now must revisit and withdraw its weakening the security of WhatsApp in its Business Applications. In India, Facebook wants to access WhatsApp data; while in the European Union it complies with the EU’s directive on user privacy and not provide such access.

The Government of India is using the Delhi Police to intimidate Twitter for flagging various BJP leaders Tweets as manipulated media. The CPI(M) condemns the BJP government’s partisan use of the IT Ministry and the police raids on Twitter’s offices as acts of blatant intimidation.

Undermining  security protocols to provide government access to peoples messages is a dangerous and retrograde measure. These strengthen the architecture of a surveillance State violating the right to privacy of citizens. The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands the withdrawal of these provisions.