New Delhi: At present, there is a massive confrontation going on between major technology companies and the Indian government. WhatsApp has moved the Delhi High Court against the Centre regarding the new IT rules. Facebook has not implemented the rules even after 90 days. And Twitter is telling the government what freedom of expression means.
Zee News Anchor Aman Chopra on Thursday (May 27) explained the ongoing tussle between the social media firms and the government over the new IT rules.
India was ruled by the British for 190 years. The East India Company waited for 100 years to make it happen. Something similar is happening today as big social media companies are doing business in India that consider themselves above the law.
First, these foreign companies established a massive business in India. The number of users is in crores. Today they have become so big that they are challenging the government.
At the root of this whole controversy is the new rules made by the Government of India on February 25. Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, Signal, and Snapchat have not obeyed the government’s order.
According to the government, these new rules were to be applied to these social media companies in 3 months, but the deadline was crossed. Now, these companies have chosen to directly challenge the government.
WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit against the Government of India in the Delhi High Court. In this, it has described the demand of “user traceability” made by the government as unconstitutional and argued that if it implemented the new rules, it would violate the privacy of its users.
WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook, took another route to avoid action. It has said that it wants to discuss some points with the government and only then a decision will be taken.
WhatsApp argues that if it informs the government about the first originator of any message and information, then it will violate its End-to-End encryption policy.
Centre says that user traceability does not mean that the government is asking for information from all users. It said that the details would be sought only in case of serious crimes, terrorist activities or when there is a threat to national security.
Apart from India, Brazil, New Zealand, Canada, UK, USA and Australia have also demanded such information.
Today, Twitter issued a press release in which it raised concerns about freedom of expression and the safety of its employees working in India.
The Centre promptly responded to the statement. It said that India has a centuries-old rich history of democracy and freedom of expression and that foreign companies need not preach them.
The bottom line is that the Government of India is responsible for the law and order in the country. Private companies cannot stop the government from doing its work in the name of privacy. All companies must follow the law of the land.