Mobile InternetTechnology

Indian government to ask social media platforms to trace the origin of misleading messages

Social media is a beast which is fed by us and used to its potential by none other than us. So many things this invention has given us. Social media does the most profound things in the world, it brings people closer to one another, it connects people from all over the world with different cultures, and it gives people access to the whole world without moving an inch. However, like every story has a villain, this thing also has one and that villain is us; humans.

Every good thing made to serve us can be turned against and be misused. Just like that, social media is also a thing which is misused by a lot of bad entities around the world. There are people who are using this brilliant platform to ruin lives and spread hate across the globe. This medium has a lot of power, it can make or break a human life within a day and to avoid that, there should be regulations and security provided to a normal social media user.

The Indian government is doing the same, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has kick-started its draft for Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2018. It will update the previous rules and regulations with the same name which were signed in 2011. This is one step taken by the Indian government which will allow the government to track social media activities and take actions against culprits spreading hate or serving a purpose to the violent ideas.

There are terrorist outfits, extremist organizations and certain mobs which use social media to a great extent. Lone Wolves are the ones targeted by such people. They are, according to them, the easier targets and people fall in their traps more often than not. Apart from these threats, there is a thing called fake news. Fake news is something which India and applications like WhatsApp are trying to keep tabs on.

India recently allowed ten of its agencies to intercept and understand all the digital information. There are certain tax entities, military agencies, and some police agencies as well. The government tried to keep eyes on the social media during the past year but was mostly handed in a defeat. WhatsApp also made sure that their end-to-end encryption cannot be breached without breaking their privacy policy.

Their inability to block and track misleading messages which infringed the privacy of the Indian citizens. However, this IT act will allow the application to break the encryption and block the unlawful messages. The origin of the message should be traced as well and this can be done only by breaking the end-to-end encryption.

The new act will not only ask the companies to trace the message within three days but will also have to disable the access within a day for the content that is misleading or harming the country’s reputation or is a threat to the national security.

Apart from this the social media platforms should be registered in India and have an officer to deal with all these law infringements and communicate with the government and the users once every month. However, MeitY has said that the consultation is under process and this will take time to implement. The government is talking with major social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo.

These steps by the government have raised a huge dispute among citizens and the government. The claim of becoming a surveillance state is the agenda of this dispute and the citizens might have a point. However, one must understand the need of the hour, with the age of social media and terrorist catching the fire of technology, a country must do all the things to protect its data and the users of the internet.

– Unmesh Phule

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