Twitter challenges Indian government blocking order; 5 points to note
Twitter has challenged the Indian government's orders to block content under the new IT rules by moving the Karnataka High Court.
Twitter has challenged the Indian government's orders to block content under the new IT rules by moving the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday. Not just that, Twitter has termed these orders as an abuse of power by officials. "Twitter has sought judicial review of the blocking orders from the court," a source was quoted as saying by PTI.
While there was no immediate reply from Twitter or the Ministry of Electronics, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar took to Twitter to say, "In India,all including foreign Internet intermediaries/platforms have right to court n judicial review. But equally ALL intermediary/platforms operating here,have unambiguous obligation to comply with our laws n rules."
What Twitter did
1. While challenging the government blocking order issued in June 2022, Twitter has termed it as being "overbroad and arbitrary".
2. Twitter said the requests failed to provide notice to the originators of the content and were disproportionate.
3. Sources told PTI that several requests placed by the government are allegedly for action against political content. This content has been posted by official handles of political parties.
4. Twitter views blocking of such information as a violation of the freedom of speech guaranteed to citizen users of the platform. "The content requested to be blocked does not have any apparent proximate relationship to the ground under Section 69A of the IT Act," the source said.
5. Twitter petition says that several blocking orders were issued under Section 69A of the IT Act but failed to demonstrate how the content falls within those grounds or how the said content is violative of section 69A, the source said.
What Section 69A of the IT Act says
Under Section 69A of the IT Act, the Centre or its authorised officer can seek to block access to information in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence.
When Twitter obeyed govt orders
* The government in May had asked Twitter to act on content related to Khalistan and accounts eulogising terrorists in Kashmir.
* In June, the government asked Twitter to act on around 60 accounts.
* On June 26, Twitter submitted a separate list of over 80 Twitter accounts and tweets that it blocked based on a request from the government in 2021. These included multiple accounts and some tweets from the international advocacy group Freedom House, journalists, politicians and supporters of the farmers' protest.