Twitter’s legal protection as an intermediary is not absolute, it is compliance-oriented.

Instead of resorting to police action, it would be best for India to resolve these technical issues through an effective legal framework and regulators.

There is still debate about whether Twitter has lost its position as an intermediary or the protection given to it under Indian law. To answer either of the two questions, you need to find out what an intermediary is, how and why certain protections are given to the intermediary.

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, instant messaging services such as WhatsApp, and the giant Google search engine are referred to as intermediaries, as defined in Section 2 (1) (w) of the Information Technology Act. ..

According to IT law, an “intermediary” means a person who receives, stores, or sends a record on behalf of another person or provides services with respect to that record, such as a communications service provider, a network service provider, Internet service providers, web-hosting service providers, search engines, online payment sites, online auction sites, online marketplaces, cyber cafes.

Section 79 of the Information Technology Act grants intermediaries certain protections provided that the intermediary fulfills certain obligations and due diligence mandated in accordance with the rules. If these intermediaries do not comply with court or government orders, they will be responsible for the content as the publisher and may be prosecuted with the creator of the content.

2013 High Court Order for Complaints Officer

Not long ago, the government was very reluctant to enforce the 2011 brokerage rules. In contrast, there is considerable enthusiasm for the enforcement of the 2021 rules. This can be an extreme step for tech companies and can be counterproductive.

The KNGovindacharya case in the High Court of Delhi first revealed that social media companies are reluctant to comply with local law. Following a court order in August 2013, the tech giants appointed Indian grievance officers, who were stationed outside India.

Other tech giants can also lose protection

The· Notify the Government of India In the current mediation guidelines of February 25, 2021, certain provisions regarding “important social media mediation” came into effect three months later, on May 26, 2021. Rule 7 of the 2021 Brokerage Regulations describes protection under Section 79 of IT. The law is not available to intermediaries who violate the rules.

On June 5, the Government of India issued a final notice on Twitter stating that violations of the rules would result in the withdrawal of protection under Article 79 of the Information Technology Act.

Mediator protection is a result of the law and no separate notice is issued. Similarly, withdrawal of such status does not require separate notification. Apart from Twitter’s non-compliance, Facebook and Google do not disclose details of compliance and node personnel.

Non-compliance can result in the loss of protection for these entities. As a result, they may be prosecuted under Indian criminal law.

Criminal procedure in civil affairs

FIR was submitted to Twitter because of an offensive tweet. To maintain this issue in court, the government must establish three things. First, there was offensive content. Second, Twitter was formally instructed to remove such content by court order or government order. Third, Twitter refused to follow government instructions within the stipulated time limit.

Facebook and WhatsApp can also be prosecuted if the platform’s criminality is the norm. WhatsApp is endangering the privacy of Indian Karol through its new privacy policy. This is wrong according to the government. Previously, Facebook-owned WhatsApp was said to be involved in the Pegasus episode.

These actions indicate that these entities are not just mediators. It’s still unclear if actions will be taken against all such entities along Twitter.

Disclosure of designated officers

Previously, the government tried to manage social media to some extent in various ways, one of which was a parliamentary committee summoning social media. Containing FIR and handling the matter by police violates Article 19 of the Constitution and some Supreme Court rulings. The Supreme Court states that mere sharing and retweets are not criminal offenses.

The government of the affidavit before the High Court of Delhi said that rules for removing illegal content had already been enforced through designated officers of the Internet company. Even if non-compliance with the 2021 rules has become a hot potato, it is not even certain that the 2011 rules will be complied with.

Indian tech giant regulation

Choosing Twitter can go against the spirit of the rules, and governments need to consider broader regulations on tech companies. Data protection law is required here. This ensures the privacy rights of Indians, who make up the world’s largest technology market. It also allows the government to earn taxes from such companies, which are said to earn over (approximately) 20 rupees from the Indian market.

An objection to Interim Rule 2021 is pending in several High Courts. If the government pushes too hard, the rule could be abolished, but was notified more than two years later anyway. Law and order and police are under the jurisdiction of the state. Laws related to cyber law, IT and social media companies are under the jurisdiction of the central government.

Instead of resorting to police action, it would be best for India to resolve these technical issues through an effective legal framework and regulators. This not only ensures India’s credibility to facilitate the execution of business rankings, but also provides an appropriate ecosystem for regulating Indian technology companies.

The author is a columnist and supporter. He can follow @viraggupta. The expressed views are personal.

Twitter’s legal protection as an intermediary is not absolute, it is compliance-oriented.

Source link Twitter’s legal protection as an intermediary is not absolute, it is compliance-oriented.

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