A day after the Union Government released a blueprint of social media guidelines to regulate the internet world, opposition started their criticism.
On the 26th of February, Asaduddin Owaisi, the President of the All India Majlis e Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) opposed the rules.
In a series of tweets, Mr. Owaisi lashed out at the Central Government for drafting such rules. He said the guidelines invade privacy of users on these internet intermediaries like WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others.
Asaduddin Owaisi criticised the draft Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. He said, “Currently, many messaging platforms are end to end encrypted. No one except the sender and recipient of a message knows about its content, now Government rules want to force platforms to trace the ‘originator’ of forwarded messages.”
In another tweet, Mr. Owaisi said, “Government forcing platforms to trace messages on vague grounds of ‘sovereignty/integrity of India, security of State, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order’ can cover all types of lawful speech. From news reports on Prime Minister’s weakness on Chinese intrusions to ‘Modi job do’, anything can be covered (sic.)” He further said, “Proposals to implement traceability have been shown to be vulnerable to spoofing where bad actors can falsify originator information to frame innocents. Originators also have no control over who forwards the content, or how many times it is forwarded.”
The last thread of the same tweet read, “Government already has too many powers to surveil. We don’t have privacy laws that protect us from a government that constantly wants to know about our private conversations. There’s no parliamentary oversight or judicial or redress against abuse of power. These rules must be opposed (sic.)”
Recently, on the 25th of February, the Union Electronics and Information Technology Ministry announced the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. The rules were drafted to control the internet world and reduce cyber crimes and regulate online content.
The new guidelines would be implemented on OTT platforms like Voot, Netflix and Amazon Prime also to regulate their content.
The draft of the rules has been framed in exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011.
The Government of India is planning to implement the new drafted guidelines within 3 months. However, an official announcement regarding the same is yet to be made.
Stay tuned for further updates.