Latest Updates on Privacy – September, 2021 – Part I

This is a rundown of last week’s news updates on Privacy:

Parliamentary Committee calls to ban Virtual Private Networks over anonymity of criminals online

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has asked the Government of India to ban VPNs over worries that it perpetrates the pirating of copyrighted content, allows access to dark web marketplaces for the sale of guns and drugs, and their use by cybercriminals to hack, stalk and steal information anonymously. However, this is a contrasting move following the recent liberalisation of the use of VPNs by Other Services Providers as a move to support work from home in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Whatsapp inflicted with a heavy fine by the Irish Data Privacy Commissioner

Social messaging platform Whatsapp has been found to have violated the General Data Protection Regulations in relation to the manner in which they process user data by sharing it with other Facebook companies, something which the GDPR regulates. Ireland’s DPC levied a €225 million fine on the platform, allegedly due to pressure from the European privacy commission. Whatsapp has stated that it will appeal the penalty on the grounds that it is disproportionate.

Apple to postpone the implementation of its child protective measure software

In an update to our earlier piece, tech giant Apple has now decided to collect more feedback as to the privacy concerns of its software that intended to scan Cloud photos for child sex abuse images. The move was intended to assist law enforcement agencies to track child sex abusers while also protecting the privacy of the victim by converting the photos containing such illicit content into a traceable hash function. However, as many voiced concerns as to tracking, censorship and general privacy violations, Apple has decided to collect input and make improvements before releasing these measures.

Union Government defends constitutional validity of Information Technology Rules, 2021

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has submitted two affidavits before the Madras High Court stating that the IT Rules 2021 are constitutionally valid on the grounds that common users are protected. One submission contained in the affidavit is that the right to privacy is not absolute and limitations can be imposed where an important countervailing interest can be shown. The affidavit also submits that content can be removed only if unlawful and ratified by both a court order and notification by the authorised agency. The next hearing is posted for September 14.
Authored by Rohan Joshua Jacob (Associate).

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