Sources of WhatsApp, other online messages must be traced: Supreme Court 

Written By: Jessica Taneja Edited By: Sparshita Saxena WION
New Delhi, India Published: Sep 25, 2019, 11:58 AM(IST)

File photo: Supreme Court of India. Photograph:( ANI )

Story highlights

Expressing concern over the spread of fake news, the apex court asked the Centre to file an affidavit within three weeks to come up with social media guidelines.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rapped all the social media platforms for not being able to establish the original sender of messages. 
A bench headed by Justice Deepak Gupta expressed concern over WhatsApp's inability in tracing message sources, adding that unregulated online media was a major concern. 

During the course of hearing, justice Deepak Gupta remarked, "It is dangerous the way the technology is going. After the last hearing, I researched and found I could buy an Ak-47 on the dark web and in 30 minutes". 

There has been massive concern over the spread of fake news, the government has been attempting to enable tractability of such messages but online messaging services like WhatsApp have maintained that they cannot do much as the messages are end-to-end encrypted which disallows privacy invasion. Visibly angered justice Deepak Gupta said he has denounced the use of smartphones, "I was thinking of giving up my smartphone and going back to the old way".

Expressing concern over the spread of fake news, the apex court asked the Centre to file an affidavit within three weeks to come up with social media guidelines without compromising individuals' privacy and protecting the sovereignty of the State.

“The originator (of fake messages) must be traced. At the same time, the sovereignty of the nation and the privacy of individuals should be maintained," said the bench.

The court was hearing a petition filed by social media giant Facebook Inc. for the transfer of the cases from High Courts of Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh to the Supreme Court which sought to link Aadhaar with social media accounts.

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