The government does not want to make verification of social media users compulsory considering privacy issues, State Minister for Electronics and IT Rajiv Chandrasekhar told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. To ensure that the Internet is open, secure, trustworthy and accountable to all users, the government issued the Information Technology (Mediation Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) rules in February last year, he said during question and answer session.
“And we will continue to expand the scope of such regulations to ensure that the Internet is secure and reliable,” he added.
He was answering questions from members of Congress and DMK.
Sharing the concerns raised by Congressman Abdul Khaleq, the minister said the internet and technology have empowered people and transformed their lives and governance, “a platform for the good”, but also increasing the problems of user harm, crime and fake news. .
“I am sympathetic to what you are saying but our approach is not to make it (user verification) mandatory,” he said.
He emphasized that the provisions in the new IT rules “effectively” address security and trust issues online and the misuse of social media that leads to law and order problems in the country.
Under the rules, a mediator is required to identify the first promoter of information for the purpose of investigating, preventing, investigating, or prosecuting a crime related to India’s sovereignty and integrity, state security, or incitement to crime, he said.
“The matter is under consideration today as WhatsApp has challenged it in the Delhi High Court,” he said, adding that the government had “defended the provision in court very strongly”.
Responding to a question from Congress member Manish Tewari on what prevents the government from making verification mandatory for social media users, the minister said the government was “interested in maintaining balance” in the interests of security and trust, as well as the issue of privacy.
“We believe that the rules enacted in February 2021 impose an obligation on mediators to be able to identify and identify the first instigator of any criminal activity,” he said.
“Although the matter has been challenged by some arbitrators (in court), the government is firmly defending its position that disclosure of this name cannot be a blanket,” he added.
Asked by DMK member D Rabikumar if the government has taken “any serious steps” to stop harassment of women in a particular community through “hate crime” on social media and the Sulli Deal and Bully Buy app, the minister said the government would “actively” respond to such issues.
The ministry has the power, like other departments of the government, to direct mediators to remove content and accounts that violate India’s integrity and sovereignty or disrupt public order, he said.
“This is an issue where we are actively involved and actively responding,” the minister said.