DoT asks industry to explore ways to block social media apps

Rajesh Kurup S Ronendra Singh Mumbai/New Delhi | Updated on August 07, 2018 Published on August 06, 2018

The Department of Telecom has asked the industry to explore ways to block social media applications such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

In a notice issued to all major industry stakeholders on July 18, the Department said it wants to explore the option of blocking these apps under the directions of the Cyber Law Division of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

“Issues have been raised by the Ministry of Electronics and IT and law enforcement agencies have raised issue around blocking of certain mobile apps like Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram etc to meet requirement under Section 69A of IT Act,” said an industry source.

A DoT source, however, said on condition on anonymity that there is no move to block any apps. “MeitY has informed DoT that blocking such apps during emergency situations is difficult as they work through multiple IP addresses and on different protocols, and hence there is a need for a reasonable good solution to protect national security,” the source said. “Being the licensing authority, DoT has initiated the discussion based on a letter received from the Group Coordinator, Cyber Law Division (MeitY) during the second week of July,” the source added.

The DoT already has powers to block websites /URLs especially if the content is anti-social or pornographic. However, with a lot of unwanted content now finding its way to users through social media platforms, policy makers are in a quandary over how to deal with it.

Published on August 06, 2018

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