India has asked social media firms to provide specific details about whether they have complied with its new IT rules “as soon as possible” and “preferably today” even as the new regulations are being challenged by WhatsApp.
In a letter to “significant social media intermediaries” — which New Delhi defines as social media firms with over 5 million registered users in India — on Wednesday, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asked the firms to share the names of their apps, websites, or services that will come under the scope of the new IT rules and the status of their compliance.
The letter, obtained by TechCrunch, also asks the firms to provide names and contact details of chief compliance officer, nodal contact person, and resident grievance officer that they have appointed in India as part of the compliance, and also asked for the physical address of the local office. The new rules mandate that firms have several officials in India to address on-ground concerns.
The letter also implies that India doesn’t plan to give social media firms any extension on the deadline to comply with the new regulations. “The additional due diligence required from SSMI have come into effect today, at the conclusion of three additional months given to SSMIs,” it said.
“If you are not considered as SSMI, please provide the reasons for the same including the registered users on each of the services provided by you,” the letter adds. “The government reserves the right to seek any additional information, as may be permitted within these Rules and the IT Act.”
Earlier on Wednesday, WhatsApp sued the Indian government challenging the second largest internet market’s new regulations that it said could allow authorities to make people’s private messages “traceable,” and conduct mass surveillance.
This is a developing story. More to follow…