RTI Activist Files Petition In Supreme Court Seeking Ban On WhatsApp

WhatsApp had recently announced that all its messages have been encrypted which means even if Facebook owned WhatsApp wants to decrypt a message, they can’t.

Citing the elusive threat that the messaging platform poses, Sudhir Yadav an RTI Activist from Gurgaon sought a ban on Whatsapp after he failed to receive any information on Whatsapp’s encryption rules under RTI Laws, reports Trak.

In his RTI request, he said, “Kindly Provide me copy of the written permission given to WhatsApp Mobile messaging app for using the 256-bit key length encryption (or more than 40 bit key lengths) in chatting application.”

But he was told that the office did not have any information on this. Sudhir had earlier also written to TRAI and Ministry of Communications and IT but did not receive any reply.

Sudhir added, “.. there are 115,792,089,237,316,195,423,570,985,008,687,907,853,269,984,665,640,564,039,457,584,007,913,129,639,935 possible combinations of keys to decrypt the (Whatsapp) message and to read it, which means that even if anyone have A hundred thousand super computers and each of those super computer can try a million billion keys every second, even then it will take trillions of trillions of trillions of years to decrypt a single message/document/call/video/image and then read it.”

Sudhir’s sole intention to ban Whatsapp is that if in case an attack is being planned against India, the Indian Police/Intelligence will not be able to decrypt messages or take any action.

Along with Whatsapp, Sudhir has also named messaging apps including Hike, Secure Chat, LeuPost, Wicker me, Viber, Telegram etc which have also encrypted its messages.

According to Sudhir, four Indian laws have been violated by this encryption policy. They include:

“Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, which grants the Government the power to order the interception of messages;”

“Rule 419A of the Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951, which lays down the procedural requirements which must be followed for telephone tapping to be legal;”

“Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which deals with the power to issue directions for interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer resource;”

“Information Technology (Directions for Interception or Monitoring or Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.”

Evidently as WhatsApp is a popular messaging platform and has more than 50million active users in India, granting a ban on the app will not be easy. The proceedings of the case will surely be intriguing and pivotal if any significant action is taken.

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