Do business in India by all means, but follow the laws: RS Prasad on social media rules | Exclusive

Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday stated that India’s digital sovereignty won’t be compromised at any value. This comes amid the Centre’s row with Twitter over the new IT rules. (Photo: PTI file)

Amid a feud between the Centre and social media giant Twitter over the authorities’s new IT rules for social media intermediaries, Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad addressed main questions in an unique interview with India Today.

Q. What is the problem? Why are Twitter and the central authorities not capable of see eye to eye on the new rules?

A. India has round 130 crore customers of Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn and so on. We welcome this. People ought to use these platforms and ask the authorities questions by way of them. We respect that. We wouldn’t have any problem with overseas corporations doing business right here.

The downside is just not with the use of social media. The downside is with misuse of it. When that occurs, what ought to an individual do?

Is it not true that generally compromising images of ladies are uploaded on social media? Sometimes persons are defamed on social media? To counter this, now we have requested social media corporations in the new IT rules to nominate a grievance redressal officer in order that Indian customers have somebody to complain to in such conditions. They mustn’t need to complain to somebody in the US. What is the downside with that?

ALSO READ: Most social media companies have complied, Twitter still not following rules: Govt sources

From WhatsApp, we simply wish to know the origin of messages that trigger violence, riots, terrorism, rape, menace to nationwide safety and so on. The Supreme Court has stated in previous judgments that the authorities has the proper to know the origin of faux messages which create issues.

In the Delhi riots of 2020 for instance, many individuals acquired caught because of sturdy digital forensic proof. So it’s the responsibility of those social media corporations to assist legislation enforcement businesses.

This won’t change something for extraordinary WhatsApp customers.

Q. But WhatsApp is saying they must break end-to-end encryption for this and that can compromise their customers’ proper to privateness.

A. I wish to ask a query. When the US or UK governments ask for the origin of messages circulated by terrorists, these social media corporations give it. Then why can’t they do the similar for the Indian authorities?

What about WhatsApp’s new privateness coverage? In that case, WhatsApp doesn’t care about encryption?

As the legislation minister, I wish to say to all social media corporations that India’s digital sovereignty won’t be compromised at any value. As an American profit-making firm, do business in India by all means. But follow India’s legal guidelines and structure. Our Parliament and establishments are simply as essential as some other nation’s.

Q. This Twitter vs Centre row comes at the similar time as the ‘toolkit’ case in which BJP and Congress are concerned. Is the authorities’s agenda with the implementation of the new IT rules now a approach to ‘backdoor censor’?

A. These new IT rules had been printed on February 25 in the gazette. We stated important social media corporations will get three months to conform. They knew that. There was no toolkit case at the moment.

On the ‘toolkit’ case, the problem is with the police. Our nation’s legislation says that if a problem is with the police, everybody ought to assist in the investigation. If Twitter had some proof by way of which they marked sure tweets as ‘manipulated media’, why not share it with the police?

The police didn’t go to their workplace to arrest them but to summon them as a result of they didn’t come when known as.

ALSO WATCH: The big privacy vs security debate: Will the face-off end in a Twitter ban?

The massive query is that Twitter is a platform the place anybody can say something. Unless a tweet promotes terrorism or compromises a lady’s dignity, who’s Twitter to resolve what needs to be censored and what shouldn’t be?

If somebody is criticising somebody, they can’t resolve to close that account. On the one hand, Twitter desires to advertise freedom of expression. And then they resolve whose account to dam.

Q. So you assume Twitter is working on behalf of the Congress? Why would they do this?

A. Those who do their politics by way of Twitter are actually doing the politics of Twitter. Congress ought to be taught to work on-ground.

Q. Kabil Sibal raised the following query: How can the BJP say Twitter’s act of marking the tweet as ‘manipulated media’ dilutes its credibility as unbiased earlier than the police investigation is over?

A. This is just not Kapil Sibal, senior advocate, talking. This is Kapil Sibal, senior Congress minister. I’ve nothing else to say.

Q. Twitter has stated many occasions that the Centre has requested it to remove tweets that are against the government. Twitter has complied additionally. If Twitter is biased towards the authorities, then why did they take away 50 tweets that the Centre requested it to take away in April?

A. Twitter is a platform, not a regulator.

To regulate, they are saying they’ve stored fact-checkers. Who are these fact-checkers? I wish to know their names and the way they’ve been appointed.

Some of those fact-checkers have one agenda, Hate Modi. Twitter couldn’t discover any impartial fact-checkers in such an enormous nation? This query must be raised.

Twitter ought to simply follow India’s legal guidelines. Just put a grievance redressal officer so an extraordinary particular person could make a grievance. Appoint a nodal officer so an investigating company can get assist from you.

Q- So fact-checkers are solely impartial if they’re on the authorities’s aspect?

A. No. But a fact-checker whose agenda is to hate Modi can’t be a fact-checker. We welcome criticism. Our Prime Minister has been receiving criticism from throughout the globe since 2001.

But social media corporations can not promote just one aspect.

Q. It has been steered that India ought to have an unbiased web regulator, freed from any authorities management. Is there any dialogue on this inside the authorities?

A. We try to convey the new knowledge safety invoice in the subsequent session of Parliament. That will reply many questions.

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