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Friday, February 14, 2020

Privacy of India's 40 crore social media users will end when the new law comes into force

Privacy of India's 40 crore social media users will end when the new law comes into force

The central government is enacting a new law for social media and messaging apps. The law is likely to come out by the end of this month. In this, such provisions have been made whereby Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TicketLock will have to disclose the identity of the user if demanded by government agencies. It is clear that the secrecy of about 400 million social media users in the country will be over when the new law comes.

It will be mandatory to obey the government's directive

Considering the proliferation of fake news, child porn, apartheid and terrorism related content on social media platforms, efforts are being made to decide their responsibility all over the world. Rules and regulations related to social media are being made for this, but the law being made in India is the most elaborate. Under this, social media companies will have to obey the government's directive and there will be no warrant or court order for this.

The draft was released in September 2018

The guidelines related to social media were issued by the Government of India in December 2018 and suggestions were sought from the common people. The Internet and Mobile Association of India had opposed the new provisions, calling them against the right to privacy, but according to information, the government is not going to make any major changes in this. In the proposed law, social media companies were given the provision of the address of the post within 72 hours on the orders of the government.

It was also mandatory for them to preserve records for at least 180 days. These rules are for all social media companies that have more than 5 million users. About 500 million people in India use the Internet, but it is not yet clear whether foreign users will come under the purview of this law.

WhatsApp did not listen to the government on the news of child theft

Security agencies around the world are troubled by the attitude of tech companies, as they do not help with government investigations. Companies often deny things like revealing the user's identity or unlocking the device. This affects many cases, especially investigations related to terrorism.

Internet and fake news are relatively new things for India, but in 2017-18, false news related to child theft on WhatsApp became very viral and as a result, more than three dozen people lost their lives in mob violence.

Even at the request of the government, WhatsApp refused to give the origin of these rumors, citing privacy law. The company had said that this would jeopardize the privacy of its 400 million users. The company instead asked for cooperation in research to prevent fake news.

Social media companies unhappy with new provisions

WhatsApp said on Wednesday that it would not compromise on security as it would make users feel insecure. At the same time, tech companies and civil rights groups are calling the new law a burden for censorship and new companies. He has also sent an open letter in this matter to Union Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

However, a ministry official has clarified that Mozilla and Wikipedia will not come under the ambit of the new law. Browsers, operating systems, software development platforms, etc. are excluded from this, but it will be mandatory for all social media companies and messaging apps to consider them.

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