India’s New Social Media Rules

The Government of India has launched new guidelines or rules for social media platforms. The new rules call for identifying the ‘first originator’. The new rules apply to all social media platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube.

Personal messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, or Signal need to track the origin of messages that contain wrong information, misleading, or against law and order of the country. Previously the messages were encrypted to provide privacy to the users. Now to track the origin of these messages, these apps need to break the end-to-end encryption. The social media platforms now will have a tough time maintaining the privacy and tracking the origin of the messages, which is a near-impossible task with the available technology. Personal messaging apps do not want to end the users’ privacy, which, otherwise, may result in many users leaving the apps.

The Government of India has no interest in seeing the contents and maintains that privacy is a fundamental right. “We don’t want the content because the content is already out there in the form of tweets or messages. But, who began the mischief? This, they (social media platforms) will have to disclose,” said the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, while announcing India’s new IT rules on February 26.

The new rules also extend to over-the-top (OTT) platforms like Youtube, Netflix, etc. OTT platforms now need to follow a 3-tier regulation mechanism. The new rules also asked the OTT platforms to self-classify their content according to five groups based on age suitability.

Other social media like Facebook and Twitter should allow users to post what is allowable as per norms. Users can now file a complaint within 24 hours of receiving ‘objectionable’ content. Social media companies should appoint a Grievance Officer to resolve any issue quickly to deal with online complaints.

Information Technology Rules 2021 is undoubtedly a boon for most users who have previously been the victim of fake news or blackmailing content. However, it has become a severe headache for the IT social media giants to follow some issues. It may result in doing away with the privacy of contents, thus interfering with the users’ rights. Let’s see what plans the social media platforms and OTT platforms come up with.

To know more about the new Information Technology Rules click here.

Written by – Himadri Paul

Why is Signal preferred over WhatsApp?

Whatsapp’s new privacy policy is brainstorming almost everyone across the world. Users are worried about their privacy not remaining private anymore. Meanwhile, most of them are trying to switch their messaging apps to other platforms. And one of the platforms being preferred the most over WhatsApp is SIGNAL.

Let’s have a look into why Signal is more secure than WhatsApp with these 5 topmost reasons of its preference:-

1.  Signal is open-source and the entire source code for android, iOS and desktop application is available for examination of any sort of potential backdoors.

2. Signal is owned by a non-profit organization, unlike a tech giant that has stakes in monetizing the data, appalling history and poor track record in terms of security and privacy.

3. Signal has been using domain fronting on/off along with other methods for obscuring the traffic for circumventing censorship.

4. Signal, as opposed to WhatsApp, stores minimal metadata, in fact, the only thing it stores is the phone number, time of account creation and last connection to signal servers, whereas WhatsApp stores a wealth of information such as IP address, mode, battery consumption, app usage, etc. This means WhatsApp when hit the information disclosure request by law enforcement will be compelled to give complete information.

5. Most of the features such as private chats, auto-detection of old messages, disappearing messages, etc. come to signal first and then are replicated by other platforms including WhatsApp.

I hope you have got a clear picture of what makes Signal different or better from other messaging apps.

Written By – Maram Roshini

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Signal Download Link – Get Signal

What does WhatsApp privacy update mean for our privacy?

How much access to your life you will have to give to WhatsApp if you accept these policies?

This seems to be the right question to ask ourselves at this moment.

What if I tell you that WhatsApp is no more a messaging app. It’s much more than that we could ever think of.

Then what are the new policies?

Whatsapp has come up with a new privacy update on terms and policy expanding on how the platform can share (or) use the user’s data with other Facebook-owned and third-party apps. But the catchier thing over here is the update comes up with a condition if the user doesn’t accept the privacy policies he/she has to quit the platform. It’s clearly a do-or-die situation and these privacy terms will come into the picture from February 8.

Status, group names, group icons, frequency of activity, and whether the person using WhatsApp is online or offline everything will be stored in their data.

Hold on! 

Now it’s just a trailer film that is yet to come.

Apart from that, the platform will collect data from new payment feature including the processing method, the shipment, and transaction the collect and shared location, the device model, the operating system, the battery level, the browsing data and almost the whole of our data will be tracked if we accept the privacy policies.

Let’s have a look into the privacy policies of WhatsApp at present, it states that

“Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA. Since we started WhatsApp we’ve aspired to build our services with a set of strong privacy policies in mind.”

But these lines make no sense when we look at their new privacy policy.

Now let’s have a look at how this privacy policy is going to affect a user’s life like you and me.

How will this new changes affect us?

Apar Gupta, CEO of internet freedom foundation says that WhatsApp terms will help Facebook and connected third-party apps to exploit user data for commercial gain including personal data, and also breaching user’s privacy. He also adds that the privacy policy lacks clarity and fails to shed light on how data from Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram are being combined and who it is made available.

So what’s the solution for it?

A judicial enquiry is likely to help the users out there to find the answers to their questions regarding Facebook’s data collection practice. Just so you know the Facebook has not yet responded to the joint parliamentary question regarding this practice and the last way is to quit the platform. Most of the users are trying to adapt some other messaging apps for the sake of messaging as an alternative. Some of them are Telegram, Signal and so on…

Read About it more here – WhatsApp Legal Info

Written by – Maram Roshini