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Tensions between Twitter and the government over recent unequal measures to remove / block content from the platform have escalated over the past year.
Accused of “abuse of power”, Twitter has filed a lawsuit in the Karnataka Supreme Court, seeking a review and release of “comprehensive and inappropriate” content that prohibits orders from the government.
Last month, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) wrote to Twitter giving it a last chance to comply with the ‘Blocking Orders’ series, and also imposes serious consequences for non-compliance, including criminal prosecution. Senior Company Compliance Manager.
A source familiar with the development told Hindu that because of the seriousness of these threats, the microblogging forum in the U.S. headquarters has chosen to challenge a few ‘Prevention Orders’ issued under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, by law. Method of Written Complaints before the Karnataka High Court.
Noting that in many cases, there are requirements for all accounts to be blocked, the source, who did not wish to be identified, said these rules are being challenged on the basis that they are procedural and fall short of Section 69A requirements, excessive use and inequality.
Responding to the developments, the Minister of Electricity and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Twitter said, “In India, all, including foreign external internet facilitators / platforms, have the right to appear in court and to review legal proceedings. our rules and regulations “.
The long battle between Twitter and the government over the removal / blocking of content on the platform has intensified over the past year. Last year, Twitter also voiced concern over the use of “intimidation tactics” and the “potential threat of free speech” in India, while the government withdrew from calling statements as an attempt to discredit India.
Pointing out the problematic nature of the current blockchain orders, the source said the commands are “broad and unreasonable, fail to provide notice to content creators, and do not fit” in a few cases. The source added that some of the accounts and content may refer to the political content posted by the official handles of political parties and the withholding of such information is a violation of guaranteed freedom of expression for users of the arena citizens.
Violations of users’ rights
“Furthermore, the content in question is not closely related to the grounds under Section 69A. The few Prohibition Orders issued on Twitter ‘cite’ only the reasons for Section 69A but fail to show how the content fits into those reasons or how the alleged content violates Section 69A, ”added the source.
Blocking the account level, the source said, is a major unequal measure and violates users’ rights under the Constitution, especially if the reason for the ban is uncertain and simply lists the reasons under Section 69A.
According to the source, MeitY itself in various submissions to the Delhi High Court stated that if a particular part or other content is illegal, then the court may take similar steps to remove that alleged information alone, and should not completely suspend the user account. MeitY itself has realized that downgrading the entire user account should be the last resort.
“Twitter has sought a court review of other content that is part of various Blocking Orders for these reasons and has asked the Court to release these Blocking Orders,” the source said.