In light of the recent turn of events in the country, especially those triggering the widespread 'exodus' of northeast Indians from various parts of the country, the government is working towards preventing the misuse of the Internet and social media, both of which are popular in the country. The Economic Times now reports that last month, in a meeting in the PMO, it had been decided that an “appropriate regime” would be installed that would deal with issues of blocking content on the Internet and on the social media in a 'smart, timely and consistent manner'. The meeting was a well-attended one, with the heads of all intelligence agencies, representatives from the ministries of home, telecom and IT.
New regime to improve cyberspace and social media (Image credit: Getty Images)
The appropriate regime that the government plans to set up will essentially be to have an effective cyber monitoring system in place. The regime, minutes of which have been reviewed by the Economic Times added that the regime also includes laying out guidelines and procedures on the kind of content that would be required to be blocked and decide on the penalties that are to be meted out to those guilty.
Among other things, the government also plans on introducing a legal wing that will look into the loose threads in the existing IT Act, and tighten it, accordingly to make it capable of dealing with situations, like this one in the past. The onus of planning out the structure and the mandate of the new regime rests with the ministries of home and IT.
Reports recently revealed that the government had planned to block Twitter across eight states in the country. The 'inflammatory' content posted on Twitter was thought to be one of the main factors triggering the widespread exodus in the country. Interestingly, the Department of Electronics and IT (DEIT) had sought to bar the popular microblogging service across eight states in the country, namely, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
The DEIT approached experts to know how to proceed with it and if at all it could be done. Soon there were reports about telecom operators refusing to abide by the new order, citing the such a move was not technically feasible. In the same vein, operators have approached the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) requesting it to consider the technical feasibility of such a request by the ministry, by which it seeks to monitor Twitter traffic.
Earlier reports indicated that Twitter had informed the Department of Electronics and Information Technology that it was facing technical difficulties in blocking few web pages containing morphed and inflammatory images – there are about 28 such web pages, according to reports. The government, however, maintains its stand that Twitter will have to remove the offensive web pages or will have to face punitive action. Twitter is now seeking time to adhere to the task of blocking pages with offensive content. Reports now suggest that government officials are viewing this move by the social network as a time-buying ploy. The government wants Twitter to respond in clear terms, whether it would block the web pages or not, and here they re-iterated on the fact that if Twitter failed to block the web pages, it would have to face action.
Centre for Internet and Society, CIS, Cyber Security, cyberlaws, DEIT, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Department of Telecommunications, DoT, Facebook inc, Internet Censorship, Twitter, Web services