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Hold robust consultation, ensure safety-privacy balance: Twitter, Internet cos on social media norms

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The government should hold robust consultation with stakeholders before finalising the revised rules for as a "carefully crafted balance" is needed between security and free expression, according to and other platforms.

The proposed amendments to (IT) rules aimed at curbing misuse of and ahead of the have sparked concerns among various stakeholders.

Against this backdrop, Twitter's (Public Policy) Colin told that any promulgation of new rules in this area should only come after a robust consultation.

"With respect to intermediary liability, there is a carefully crafted balance that needs to be struck between ensuring the safety and security of an experience on any with respect to content, and protection with respect to privacy and free expression," said.

He noted that this "balance is at risk of being upended" by norms like asking to pro-actively monitor content.

On condition of anonymity, a of another global said it is unclear whether wants to be a or mass surveillance.

According to him, a mandate for interception and decryption of information would hurt people's ability to have a private

While the discussions are going on with the government, the emphasised that requiring collection of and access to personal data, even when a crime has not been committed, would have serious global ramifications.

Among the draft amendments is a proposal that would require 'intermediaries' to enable tracing of originators of information when required by authorised government agencies. Another proposed provision would require to deploy tools to "identify" and curb unlawful content.

Some industry experts have warned that the planned amendments -- that mandate traceability of "unlawful content" -- could invade personal privacy and free speech.

said serves roughly 500 million tweets a day and that is around a billion tweets every two days.

"Nobody wants a typewriter that edits what you type as you type it, you want to be able to type what you believe and to publish that," he said.

In December, the (IT) ministry officials held a meeting with senior executives of Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, and other companies to discuss the proposed changes to the IT rules.

While comments from the public have been sought on the draft rules, a section of the stakeholders has slammed the proposed changes.

Mozilla, the not-for-profit entity behind Firefox, had said the move is a "blunt and disproportionate" fix to the problem of and would lead to over-censorship.

The Opposition said the proposals if implemented would violate privacy of individuals and termed it as an attempt to convert into a "nanny state".

Crowell batted for a wide consultation stating that the process "should not be solely with the largest companies in the space but with a variety of stakeholders -- both in industry and civil society".

This is because the rights and responsibilities that are articulated in any intermediary liability regime also go directly to the heart of how individual Indians can express themselves in open society, Crowell explained.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 11 2019. 17:25 IST