New Delhi: Microblogging site Twitter seems to be under a lot of misconception and misunderstanding with respect to the application of law, according to cyber expert and Supreme Court lawyer NS Nappinai, a day after the social media website locked out Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from his account for almost an hour.
Twitter had cited that Shankar had violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of the USA and hence been barred from accessing his account.
“The whole misunderstanding on the intermediary issue appears to stem from misconceptions in the minds of the Intermediaries clubbed as significant social media intermediaries under the Intermediary Guidelines of 2021. They seem to have been under the misapprehension that they are not subject to Indian hurisdiction and consequently to Indian laws,” Nappinai said.
She further emphasised that Twitter is very much subject to Indian law, even without the mandate under the 2021 Guidelines for appointing India-resident compliance and grievance officers.
“India is a democracy and has robust court systems. If any person has grievances about the constitutionality or sustainability of any laws or regulations, they are open to contest it before courts. To make it into an extrajudicial inquiry and persecution impacts and questions the very sovereignty of India says, Nappinai told ANI.
The lawyer further said that this misapprehension appears to have resulted in “lackadaisical compliance from these intermediaries”, and now their failure to comply or even contest the vires of the 2021 guidelines till after the deadline is being wrongly postured on global platforms.
“It’s important for the government and law enforcement authorities to be responsible, but just because they decide to implement punitive actions built into a law does not mean they are wrong. Once the law gives such permissibility, it is open to Indian authorities with the remit to apply such laws,” she said.
The legal expert added, “They should do so however with due care and caution to ensure, as the old adage goes – that justice is not just done but seen to be done. A conciliatory process that will now give closure to this undue and uncalled for controversy but with due cooperation from significant social media intermediaries may be the best way forward.
Twitter on Friday said it had responded to a complaint to bar access to the Union Minister to his Twitter account.
“Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” a Twitter spokesperson told ANI.
Although the account of the Minister was visible for public viewing, Twitter did not permit anyone authorized to access this account to log in or make any post.
In a series of posts on Koo, an Indian microblogging platform, the Minister slammed Twitter and said its actions indicate that “they are not the harbinger of free speech that they claim to be” and are “only interested in running their own agenda”.
Prasad said no matter what any platform does they will have to abide by the new IT Rules fully and there shall be no compromise on that.
“Twitter’s actions were in gross violation of Rule 4(8) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 where they failed to provide me any prior notice before denying me access to my own account,” he wrote on Koo.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.
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