Rishi Jaitly is heading Twitter India, MediaNama has heard from sources, looking primarily after Twitter India’s interactions with the Indian government, which has been giving it some trouble. On being contacted by MediaNama, Jaitly put us in touch with Twitter’s PR department, which declined to comment, saying “We’re not able to share any news about Rishi’s role or Twitter in India at this point.”
Please bear in mind that our information is source based, and in case Twitter clarifies, we’ll update this story. Also, this might be old news now, so this is just for the record: according to Jaitly’s LinkedIn profile, he joined Twitter India in November 2012. Prior to joining Twitter, Jaitly worked at Knight Foundation as Program Director.
Some context on Jaitly’s appointment: he’s worked in India before, and was a part of Google India’s initial policy team, working as a Policy Analyst at Google under Shailesh Rao, former MD (Media & Platforms) at Google Asia-Pacific (and MD of Google India). Rao now heads Twitter’s International Operations, and Jaitly reports to him.
Twitter’s Policy Concerns In India
Back in 2009, working at Google India as a Policy Analyst, Jaitly had said on India’s IT Act and sharing of user data by intermediaries:
“A more serious concern is the situation where your (and intermediary’s) immunity can be stripped. As soon as you receive notification, effectively, your immunity is gone. Our view is that in rules and regulations process, it should be clarified that the expectation of the intermediary should not be to unequivocally, in all settings, no matter where the request is coming from, to always produce user data, and to always remove content. Instead, the obligation of an intermediary should be to drive any notification to a rapid legal conclusion.”
In a gist, Jaitly pointed out that the obligation of an intermediary (like Twitter, Google, or any publisher) should be to take a notification towards a legal process, instead of being forced to provide user data and remove content, which is exactly what is happening now. However, these should be seen as Google India’s views, since he was representing them, but it’s interesting that the exact concern he had raised at that ASSOCHAM meeting has become a rather big problem for Twitter (and more so, Google).
A government panel recently approved the blocking of 306 twitter accounts, many other accounts were blocked last year. Twitter received less than 10 requests for disclosure of user information from the Indian government during July to December 2012, Twitter complied to none of those requests.