Indian users may lose access to Wikipedia in light of new internet rules: Report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 26, 2020

Wikipedia   -  Website/Screenshot

India is one of Wikipedia’s largest markets

Wikipedia might not be accessible to Indian users if government approves new internet rules, Business Insider reported on Tuesday.

The report stated that Wikimedia Foundation, the organisation that runs the website said that the new rules might require them to project different content for different countries.

The Government is in process of introducing “intermediary rules” for internet and social media companies. According to the rules, companies must “remove or disable access” to “unlawful” content within 24 hours after they’re either asked to do so by a government agency or through a court order, according to previous reports.

Wikimedia’s senior communications director Anusha Alikhan told Business Insider that the platform is built through individual languages, not geographies. As per the rules, the web platform may be required to remove content which is deemed illegal in one jurisdiction while it is still visible to users in other countries. This doesn’t work with the company’s model. The organization cannot restrict changes being visible in one country and not the other, the report said.

Wikipedia is a community platform where content can be edited by anyone with a legitimate account.

If the new rules go through, Indian users may lose access to the site.

India is one of Wikipedia’s largest markets with the site being accessed over 771 million times by Indian users in November 2019 as per the report.

The website had recently sparked a major debate in India where it was used as a source by the government in the Economic Survey 2020.

The Government is also in process of introducing further regulations for data protection and privacy with the Data Protection Bill, which is at present with the Joint Parliamentary Committee.

The draft Information Technology Intermediary Guidelines which was formulated in 2018 might be delayed in order to comply with the Data Protection Bill according to previous reports. The rules have been drafted to make social media and Internet companies accountable to any Government agency and providing time-bound assistance to the same.

Published on February 26, 2020

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