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Parliament Questions: Tracking manipulative apps, social media misuse, not Centre’s duty: MeitY

A roundup of important questions in Parliament on tech: no data on social media misuse with Centre, rising cybercrimes in India “cannot be verified”

What’s the news: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) answered a series of questions about social media platform regulation and cyber crime concerns on July 27. While in some instances the government said it had no data on misuse of social media, at other times MeitY cited upward trends for censorship on social media platforms and cyber crime. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for MeitY, also answered questions regarding the government efforts (or lack of) to prevent provocative content on social media, blocking of Twitter accounts, growing trends in cyber crimes among other things. Why it matters: Previously, MediaNama reported on the proposed amendments to the IT Rules, 2021 whose stated aim is to curb the harms of Big Tech companies and improve user grievance redressal. However, the amendments in their current state compel ‘intermediaries’ to censor content in line with the law, threatening free speech. Meanwhile, remarks of growing trends in cyber crime in the Lok Sabha session further highlight how cyber attacks have been worsening since Covid-19. Is platform regulation a State subject? No tracking of manipulative apps: MeitY said that it does not track and monitor apps or content on social media platforms or online app stores unless they are explicitly reported under section 69A of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. “There are recent efforts by the government to strengthen grievance reporting or redressal which mean to expand reporting of illegal content or conduct. Further, law enforcement agencies…

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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