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Activists condemn move to enable center to intercept messages on WhatsApp, SignalATN News

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The Indian government is proposing to implement a new law to enable the interception of encrypted messages, voice calls and video calls on over-the-top (OTT) communication platforms including WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which operates under the Ministry of Communications (MoC), released the draft of the Indian Telecom Bill, 2022 for public consultation on Wednesday.

In the draft bill, ‘telecommunication services’ are defined as relating to broadcasting, e-mail, voice mail, video-communication and audio-communication services.

Explaining the effects of the draft bill, the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), an Indian digital freedom organization, said the draft bill “seeks to repeal the Indian Telecom Act, aimed at creating a comprehensive framework for regulating telecommunications in India. , 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and the Telegraph Wire (Unlawful Protection) Act, 1950.”

As a result, encrypted messaging applications “may not transmit, intercept or intercept or disclose any message or class of messages” on behalf of the government.

The IFF said the provisions of the draft bill were spirited and, to some extent, “create the same concerns, threats and issues” as the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. Besides, the worries got worse.”

The main purpose of the Telegraph Act of 1885 was to empower the government to establish telegraph lines on private and public property.


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