Amidst a debate over Indian government's move to give sweeping powers to security agencies to intercept the contents on computers, the Electronics and Information Technology Ministry has announced that it has begun public consultations on draft amendment to rules regulating internet and social media companies like Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook aimed at checking fake news and rumours.
However, the move has evoked fresh protests from social activists and opposition parties.
Congress accused the BJP-led government of “violating” the privacy of individuals and turning India into a “surveillance state.” It said if the draft amendment to the rules relating to regulation of social media platforms were approved it will lead to a huge expansion of the government's power over common citizens reminiscent of “eerie dictatorship.”
The Ministry said in a statement on Monday that consultations have begun on the draft Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules of 2018 to replace the rules notified in seven years ago.
“The consultation process was initiated with inter-ministerial consultations and thereafter with other stake-holders, including major social media platforms/ messaging services platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, WhatsApp and associations representing intermediaries,” said the ministry.
The timeline of submission of comments by the public has been set for January 15 next year.