Policy

Twitter working to locate ‘unlawful content’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on August 22, 2012

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Though the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) requested social networking site Twitter to control its parody accounts, cyberspace was agog with chirpings on Wednesday on the issue.

Tweets such as “Government Locks Horns with Twitter Again: Blocks Six Parody Accounts,” “Parody PMO accounts. OPM for the masses” and “Nobody but the PMO took his parody accounts seriously,” were doing the rounds.

While Twitter has promised to screen objectionable content on six accounts resembling the PMO’s, cyber law experts say the Government can ban or sue Twitter if it does not do so within 36 hours of the request.

“All these services companies are doing business in India based out of the country, but they should comply with Indian law,” cyber law expert Karnika Seth told Business Line.

As it is a national issue, the Government, through cyber threat monitoring and response agency Computer Emergency Response Team - India (CERT-In) can block the Website and also file public-interest litigation on criminal liability, she said.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said if there was misuse of technology there should be a provision for punishment. However, no such provisions were available at present, he said.

“Now we have to decide the steps we have to take under our laws on how we can take it forward so that we can seek help from these Websites in the coming days so as to identify those who have misused these Websites and punish them,” he said.

Without naming any company, Kapil Sibal said some Websites have refused to share user information, contending they were beyond the jurisdiction of India as their servers were located in other countries.

Twitter, on its part, said it has communicated to the PMO that it would be locating the ‘unlawful content’. However, it could not take action earlier ‘because the Government entity did not intimate through proper procedure electronically to our system and hence the request was not located’.

The company said it is now ‘actively reviewing’ the request and will be seeking additional information from the Ministry of Communication and IT to locate unlawful content and the specific unlawful tweet.

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Published on August 22, 2012
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