A Letter petition has been written to the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde regarding the infringement of fundamental Right to Privacy on account of permitting the use of ZOOM – a video conferencing application, and seeks for the ban on its download and usage.
The letter-petition comes at the heels of the advisory used by the Ministry of Home Affairs on 12.04.2020 which stated that ZOOM was not a safe platform and provided steps that could be employed by private individuals (not for use by government offices/officials for official purpose) for a safer experience while navigating through the application.
Penned by Advocates Sanpreet Singh Ajmani and Aneesh Sharma, the letter-petition states that, in view of the lockdown imposed in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, ZOOM – a video chatting/conferencing application which is available across all platforms, gained momentum and is being used as means of chatting/conferencing for various purposes such as online classes, online meetings, conferences and other allied purposes.
It has been asserted by the Petitioners that it was found that the application is not safe and does not have end-to-end encryption. It was also noticed that malicious random mails were being received by users of the application. In light of the same, as it is being used excessively for online classes, the letter-petition posits that the data could be used to exploit young children.
'ZOOM application is also being heavily used as means of giving online classes to young children across the country, and due to its vulnerabilities, it is not excessive to say that those data can be used to exploit young children and use their videos for illegal and pornographic purposes".
The letter-petition brings forth the MHA advisory and states:
"It is respectfully submitted that, once the Ministry of Home Affairs has reached to the conclusion that use of ZOOM application is unsafe, it should have recommended to ban the application in India rather than making further suggestive steps which are very complex in nature"
It refers to assertions by "various news channels" which have cited developers of ZOOM themselves admitting the vulnerabilities of the application.
The letter-petition concludes on the note that as the advisory of the MHA cannot be followed by "every normal user of the ZOOM application", it puts the user's data at risk, resulting in violation of right to privacy at mass level as stipulated in the case of K.S. Puttuswamy v. Union of India (2017). Therefore, there is an immediate and urgent need to ban the download and use of such a vulnerable application.
Read The Letter Petition