Athena Solomon K, a student of the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru has moved to court to seek a ban on popular messaging app Telegram. She says that Telegram has become a mouthpiece for spreading vulgar and sexual content that contains women and children.
Athena said that Telegram allows anonymous posting of messages that promote terrorism and pornography. She has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court of Kerala to ban the Telegram app nationwide for the same.
Telegram app is a cloud-based messaging service that was launched in 2013 and has its roots in Russia.
According to Section 79(3) of the Information Technology Act 2000, obscene and inappropriate content should be removed by a tech company if ordered by appropriate authorities. However, Telegram does not have any registered office in India therefore, the act cannot be enforced on it. Interestingly, other messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook have their Nodal officers as well as a registered office in the country thus they are liable to remove any content if ordered.
Telegram operates in India which makes things tricky for law enforcement agencies.
Moreover, messages are end-to-end encrypted on Telegram which makes it impossible for authorities to trace the culprits spreading obscene content.
Cyber police of Kerala have busted a group operating on Telegram that was promoting child pornography which is illegal in India.
Telegram app was banned in Indonesia in 2017 for spreading terrorism and radical thoughts. The app was also banned in Russia in 2018 and the authorities ordered the messaging platform to hand over the encryption keys.
The High Court of Kerala has sought views of the Central government on the plea demanding the ban of the Telegram app in India.
What are your views on the possible ban of Telegram in India?