App block: Telegram, not FB or WhatsApp, ‘under MeitY lens’

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on August 08, 2018 Published on August 08, 2018


The Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology (MeitY) never named WhatsApp and Facebook in its letter to the Department of Telecom (DoT) with the purpose of asking the industry to explore if such apps can be blocked.

According to government sources, it was intended only for Telegram app, which has some issues of self-destructing messages from its servers or the app.

“The issue was raised against Telegram only, but other names such as WhatsApp and Facebook came suo motu,” a senior MeitY official told BusinessLine.

The government is exploring options to control the spread of fake messages and as part of this exercise wants to know how these apps function, and if they can help in some way to end the menace.

In a July 18 notice to all major industry stakeholders, the DoT said it wants to explore the option of blocking these apps under the directions of the Cyber Law Division of the MeitY.

“Ministry of Electronics and IT and law enforcement agencies have raised issues around blocking of certain mobile apps such as Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram to meet requirement under Section 69A of IT Act,” said an industry source quoting the DoT letter.

A DoT source had on Monday said, on condition of anonymity, that there is no move to block any app. The DoT has the powers to block websites /URLs. However, with a lot of unwanted content now finding its way to users through social media platforms, policy-makers are in a quandary on how to deal with it.

Published on August 08, 2018

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