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Exclusive: MIB looks for AI/ML solutions for flagging ‘false information’ on Indian government

The ministry has also singled out digital news publishers for automated detection, in its latest blow to press freedom.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) is looking for a tech-based solution to 'identify' news items and videos on the internet that are 'inimical to the sovereignty of India', the ministry said in its 'problem statement' for a contest where students will participate to work on such 'problems'. It is also looking for an artificial intelligence/machine learning-based solution for flagging alleged 'false information related to the Union government'. The Policy Planning Cell of the MIB which has floated this request for Smart India Hackathon 2022, said that news such as the ones mentioned below should be identified and flagged on websites and social media — 'Wrong depiction' of India's territorial boundaries Promotion of separatism "False claims regarding operations of Indian armed forces" "Disinformation regarding India originating from foreign hostile sources" Apart from that, the solution "may also identify and flag content which has the possibility to disturb public order and flag it on an emergency basis", the ministry said. The multiple problem statements floated by MIB indicate that it will be particularly looking at the content of digital news media organisations. Such organisations often publish reports which are not aligned with the interests of the Union government. Since the MIB has not specified what constitutes 'false information related to Union government', this could pose threats to the freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which is already shrinking in the country. After the solution identifies such news, Ministry will take action The Policy Planning Cell of MIB cited…

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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