Mobile Internet

TikTok ban is a harsh step says Internet Freedom Foundation

TikTok app in appstore

TikTok is a hot topic right now. The ByteDance developed the app was ousted by the Indian government for many reasons. The move was celebrated by some, criticized by some and questioned by some. There was a mixed reaction in India as the application was one of the better ones and provided a platform for people to express. That is one way to look at TikTok but if you look at the content, there are things which bring the disgust out of a person. However, it is not TikTok who has put it out there but the people using the app but the ban comes because the company did not do anything about it.

That being said, TikTok had come out and said that it had faith in the Indian judiciary system. The Madras High Court had asked the Indian government to ban the application after some of the local politicians had asked for it. The Supreme Court, however, did not stay the order and had nothing to comment on the same. The Indian government then went on and asked Google and Apple to take the application down from their respective stores.

The application has been missing from the Play Store and the App Store for a couple of days now. However, 225 million people, who had already downloaded the application have it in their phones. That being said, this missing app has nothing to worry as the company might come up with something else pretty soon. That being said, the Chinese app has found an unlikely source backing them.

The Internet Freedom Foundation has not literally backed the application but has asked the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to think about the decision as it is against the freedom of speech. The ban was enforced by MeitY after the Supreme Court’s decision to not stay the order. The IFF is concerned about the app bans being a normal thing going forward and that is why is raising a question against the current ban.

Apar Gupta, the executive director at Internet Freedom Foundation sent a letter citing the above reasons. The letter was also copied to the Ministry of Women and Child Development and also to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

Gupta told ET, “We have also copied the letter to the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. We have said there may be a range of harms such as cyberbullying, pedophilia, impact on adolescent health and privacy harms which need to be considered. But, app bans impact free speech, rights of assembly, entertainment, etc. So, the government should not do that and should consider harms in a policy framework.”

The foundation has asked the MeitY to understand the gravity of the situation and keep in mind the idea behind free speech. It is highly unlikely that the ban would be revoked but the message the government wanted to send to the other application is sent and there is nothing to prove. So it might just be a case that the app might be unavailable for some time more before resurfacing.

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