Indian government withdraws letter over iMessage compliance with new government rules

Ios 14 Hero Messages Mask
Ios 14 Hero Messages Mask (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • India's government has withdrawn a letter sent to Apple regarding iMessage.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had written to Apple seeking details on the compliance of its iMessage service.
  • New rules on digital media were introduced in the country in May.

A letter written to Apple by India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has reportedly been withdrawn after parties reached an understanding about the compliance of iMessage with new laws introduced in India.

According to The Indian Express a letter was sent to Apple "seeking details on compliance" with India's new Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code, known as the IT Rules and introduced in May.

According to sources, the letter has now been withdrawn after the government "reached an understanding that Apple's iMessage would not be considered a 'social media intermediary' as it was not "primarily or solely" an instant messaging service provider for enabling interaction between two or more users."

New laws in the country applied to "social media intermediaries" have been criticized by companies, WhatsApp has even sued the government over 'traceability' measures that would make companies trace users' messages.

According to the report, intermediaries are defined as "any platform which 'primarily or solely' allows and enables online interaction 'between two or more users, while also permitting these users to 'create, upload, share, disseminate, modify or access information using its services."

Apple appears to have successfully convinced the government that iMessage doesn't fall into this category so won't be subject to the new rules, ministers reportedly "reached a conclusion that iMessage is not a standalone messaging app that can be download on any device" and that it is not "primarily or solely" an entity apart from Apple.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9