E2E ENCRYPTION (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     10th May 2024        
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Context: WhatsApp recently declared during a Delhi High Court proceeding that it would be forced to exit India if legally mandated to compromise its end-to-end encryption (E2EE).


  • About: It is the act of changing some consumable information into an unconsumable form based on some rules.
  • It involves: Converting human-readable plaintext into incomprehensible text, which is known as ciphertext.
  • Technology: It involves using a cryptographic key, a or made available to the public at large. set of mathematical values both the sender and recipient agree on. 

E2E Encryption

  • About: E2E is encryption that refers to particular locations between which information moves.
  • Encryption in Data Privacy: The term "encryption" is commonly associated with ensuring the privacy of stored data.
  • Data Protection: Encryption safeguards data from unauthorized access or tampering by converting it into a secret code decipherable only by the intended recipient.
  • Versatile Applications: Encryption proves beneficial in securing online communications, storing sensitive information, and verifying digital identities across various scenarios.
  • Symmetric Encryption: In this encryption, the same key is used for both encrypting and decrypting data, ensuring that the key used for encryption is also required for decryption.
  • Asymmetric Encryption: In this encryption utilizes a pair of keys - one public and one private. The public key can be shared openly, while the private key must be kept confidential.

Information Technology Rules, 2021

  • About: The IT Rules 2021 require significant social media intermediaries like WhatsApp to facilitate the identification of the first originator of information upon legal requests from competent authorities.
  • Legal Authority: Section 87 of the Information Technology Act grants the government the authority to establish rules like Rule 4(2), which are designed to curb such content in the legitimate state interest of maintaining national security and communal harmony.
  • Coverage: The IT Rules 2021 not only apply to social media intermediaries (SMIs) but also extend to online gaming intermediaries.
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