Wednesday June 19, 2019
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Net Neutrality: Congress accuses BJP of favoring corporates

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Congress on Saturday accused the Narendra Modi government of attempting to “break the connect” in use of internet messaging services such as WhatsApp and Viber, and alleged that this was being done to “favour a few corporates”.

Congress spokesperson R.P.N. Singh said that applications like WhatsApp and Viber have become a major connecting and communicating medium for millions of people across the world.

“The Modi government is making repeated attempts to break this connect in order to favour a few corporates who will manipulate charges on the basis of the recent DOT (department of telecommunications) report,” he said in a statement.

He alleged that the committee appointed by Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has acceded to the demands of the telecom industry at the cost of the common mobile user.

“In India there are about 10 crore users on WhatAapp and similar services. However, recommendations of the DOT to make these services chargeable will adversely affect all, especially users in the rural areas,” Singh said.

He said a mobile phone user wants free access to popular applications such as WhatsApp and Viber and he also wants that the service provider does not interfere with the free access to websites/content on the internet.

“Unfortunately, both the above aspects have been compromised in the report on net neutrality. This again is typical BJP game hoodwinking and fleecing the common man even as the prime minister and Prasad assured the nation to the contrary,” he said.

The panel headed by technocrat A.K. Bhargava, that was asked to look at the whole gamut of net neutrality, suggested earlier this week that free regime for domestic calls made through internet messenger services such as WhatsApp, Viber and Skype be benchmarked against regular telecom service providers for tariff and regulation.

The panel said that other communication services offered by them dealing with messaging should not be interfered with through regulation.

(With inputs from IANS)

 

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WhatsApp Maintains its Stand on India’s Message Traceability Call

Without this feature, Woog explained, WhatsApp will be a completely new product

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WhatsApp
WhatsApp on a smartphone device.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday said it has nothing fresh to add to the Indian government’s demand to trace the origin of messages on its platform as it “undermined the privacy of the people”.

Reacting to an ET story that claimed government officials have asked WhatsApp to digitally fingerprint every message, without breaking its end-to-end encryption, so that the origin of an inauthentic or fake message can be traced, WhatsApp told IANS: “We have nothing new to add to what we have previously said on this.”

Last December, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology proposed changes to Section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000.

The proposed regulations require a company to “enable tracing out of originators of information on its platform as required by legally authorised government agencies”.

The end-to-end encryption feature in WhatsApp makes it difficult for law enforcement authorities to find out the culprit behind a misinformation campaign.

The mobile messaging platform has already called the proposed changes “overbroad”, saying it undermined the privacy of the people.

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FILE – The WhatsApp app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration. VOA

“Attributing messages on WhatsApp would undermine the end-to-end encryption, and its private nature, leading to possibilities of being misused. Our focus is to improve WhatsApp, and working closely with others in society to help keep people safe,” a company spokesperson had earlier said.

A top company executive in February stressed that some of the proposed government regulations for social media companies operating in India are threatening the very existence of WhatsApp in its current form.

“Of the proposed regulations, the one which concerns us the most is the emphasis on traceability of messages,” Carl Woog, WhatsApp’s Head of Communications, had told IANS.

Also Read- Apple Adds PiP Mode on Apple TV’s Operating System tvOS 13

The Facebook-owned messaging app offers end-to-end encryption by default which means only the sender and the recipient can see the texts in circulation – not even WhatsApp.

Without this feature, Woog explained, WhatsApp will be a completely new product.

With over 200 million monthly active users, India is WhatsApp’s biggest market in the world. Globally, the platform has over 1.5 billion users. (IANS)