WhatsApp ban: Supreme Court dismisses petition, asks petitioner to approach TDSAT

By: | Updated: June 29, 2016 1:24 PM

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking ban on WhatsApp Messenger. The apex court asked the petitioner to approach Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT)

WhatsAppThe plea was filed by a Haryana-based right-to-information (RTI) activist. The petitioner had sought ban on WhatsApp and other such apps citing security concerns. (Reuters)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking ban on WhatsApp Messenger. The apex court asked the petitioner to approach Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

It urged the petitioner to seek the private key from WhatsApp and similar applications to access their contents in times of need with the help from the government.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar asked the petitioner, Sudhir Yadav, a Haryana-based right-to-information (RTI) activist, to approach the appropriate authorities.

The petitioner had sought ban on WhatsApp and other such apps citing security concerns. According to the petitioner, the petition not only concerns WhatsApp but bundles every messaging platform i.e. Hike, Viber, Secure chat and so on.

“Even if WhatsApp was asked to break through an individual’s message to hand over the data to the government, it too would fail as it does not have the decryption keys either,” the petitioner said.

Yadav even added that terrorists and criminals can easily chat on WhatsApp and make plans which are impossible to access even by supercomputers as decrypting a single 256-bit encrypted message would take hundreds of years.

Yadav said he was not asking for a ban on WhatsApp but wanted the government to ask WhatsApp and 20 other similar applications to share their private key if and when required. He said this was similar to what the government insisted vis-a-vis BlackBerry. Yadav said that in the absences of the private key, it would take the government years to access a message.

In an earlier update, WhatsApp which is owned by Facebook had made a 256-bit encryption that is impossible to break, featuring the militants a safe an easy platform to communicate.

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