- Google and Facebook say they will comply with the new Intermediary Rules
- WhatsApp, on 25th May, sued the government seeking a block on rules from being implemented
- The new Intermediary Rules were announced by India on 25 February
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Google, Sundar Pichai, has reiterated the company’s plan to comply with the new Intermediary Rules of India. As per the report from the Economic Times, Google’s CEO said that the local team of the company are holding talks with the government, but he is sure that it will comply with local laws.
Pichai also said that Google will also continue to publish its transparency reports, which will include the data on the legal information requests which it gets from the state and central governments.
On the 25th of February, the Government of India announced the new Intermediary Rules, with the government giving the significant social media intermediaries three months to comply with the same. The Government of India require companies like Google to hire Indian citizens in key compliance roles, respond to legal information requests within 36 hours, and also trace texts, posts or tweets to the first originator within the country.
Both Google and Facebook, two of the largest companies, have said that they will comply with the new laws, however, Facebook owned messaging giant, WhatsApp, on the other hand, has sued the Indian government on 25 May, seeking to block the rules from being implemented.
The messaging giant, which uses end-to-end encryption (E2EE) technology to preserve user privacy, argued that the rules will need the company to track and trace every user’s messages to be prepared for the legal requests of the governments, which will be a violation of the Supreme Court’s right to privacy ruling of 2017.
The Indian Government, however, has claimed that the intention behind the rules is not to violate the right to privacy, saying that the rules have been weighed against the test of proportionality, which is an exception mentioned in the right to privacy ruling.
MeitY, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, wrote a letter, on Wednesday, to the significant intermediaries, asking for an update on their compliance status for the new rules.
The letter from MeitY implies that such intermediaries will lose the safe harbour protections which are offered to them under Section 79 of India’s IT Act if they are non-compliant with the laws. It will also ask for the contact details of a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), a grievance redressal officer and more.
Both Google and Facebook have put out job postings for the Chief Compliance Officers on their careers pages.