Internet freedom advocates warned on Friday that India’s new social media regulations may pose a threat to freedom of speech.
According to the new regulations (which will be announced on Thursday and will take effect within three months), social media platforms, online streaming services and digital news services may be forced to delete content 36 hours after the complaint.
If required by the Indian courts or government, technology companies must also disclose the source of the “prank tweets or news.”
This may result in the disclosure of encrypted messages. This is the basic selling point of Facebook’s WhatsApp platform, which has hundreds of millions of users in India.
Mozilla is the developer of the Firefox Internet browser. Hundreds of millions of people around the world use it and demand that the regulation be revoked.
Udbhav Tiwari, Mozilla’s public policy consultant, said: “In its current form, these rules will undoubtedly harm freedom of speech, privacy and security, and may face legal challenges.”
“Provisions such as the traceability of encrypted content, demanding content shortening timelines, and automatic content filtering are straightforward and disproportionate to the intent behind these changes.”
Other Indian activists have also warned that the rule may be challenged in court.
Nikhil Pahwa, the founder of a digital news portal and online activist, told AFP: “I think these new regulations are very worrying because they have no legal basis for freedom of speech. And privacy regulations.”
“I think all these rules should be challenged in court. If they are challenged, I doubt they will stick to it.”
India’s 1.3 billion people is the main market, and Facebook and Twitter said they are studying guidelines.
A Twitter spokesperson said: “We hope to continue to engage with the Indian government to strike a balance between transparency, freedom of expression and privacy.”
They added that the social media giant wants to regulate “protect the open internet, universal access and promote competition and innovation”.
When New Delhi announced the new regulations on Thursday, it accused large technology companies of “double standards.”
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Narendra Modi) has been engaged in a protracted battle with Twitter. This protest is a protest by tens of thousands of farmers against the government’s market reforms. During this period, the social media giant rejected the government’s order to delete hundreds of accounts and comments.
Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (Ravi Shankar Prasad) stated that technology companies must be “more responsible and accountable” and described these rules as “soft touch oversight.”
A government official said that negotiations on the plan have begun with technology companies.
The official said on condition of anonymity: “They accept that there must be some kind of regulation.” “There may be some changes in the rules.”