Ostensible Imperfection: Law Enforcement by Intermediaries

About the author:

Pulkit Khare is a 4th Year B.A. LL.B(Hons.) student at The National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi.

“The transformative potential of the digital social platform to improve lives in India and elsewhere shall be balanced with the potential for discrimination, exclusion and harm.”[1]

The Government had issued two notices to Social Media Platforms (SMPs) regarding the proliferation of Fake News in their platforms. This had resulted in incidents of mob lynching around the country and raised National Security concerns. It had bottled down to WhatsApp as one of the primary targets in the SMPs asking for regulations to be implemented or else, to suffer actions.[2] The earlier notices had led to widespread panic to the head honchos of the SMPs primarily because the Government was pushing its responsibility as liability on to the key managerial personnel of the SMPs.

Continued Problem

The notices issued had been set out to discipline WhatsApp and other similar SMPs by asking it to regulate the content. This was a directive to implicitly break the end to end encryption provided by them and scrupulously sift out irregular and menacing fake content. Faced with the conundrum of violating either the privacy or the Information Technology laws of the Country, another issue has now come to light with the Government planning to issue a Third notice and criticizing non-appointment of a Grievance Officer by WhatsApp.