Amidst the ongoing tussle between the Indian government and Twitter over enforcement of IT rules, the newly sworn-in Minister for Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday said that anybody in India would have to abide by the rules of the country.
According to the reports, Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw shot a warning to micro-blogging site Twitter asking it to follow the rules of the country as the law of the land is supreme.
The warning comes amidst the ongoing war of words between the Indian government and Twitter over the new IT rules, especially after the micro-blogging site has time and again disrespected domestic laws enforced by the centre.
“The law of the land should be abided by everyone,” said Ashwini Vaishnaw, speaking to the media on Thursday.
The law of the land should be abided by everyone: Newley appointed Electronics and Information Technology minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw, on the issue of Twitter pic.twitter.com/Lg3foCFJ1J— ANI (@ANI) July 8, 2021
Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Rajya Sabha MP from Odisha, took oath as the Cabinet Minister on Wednesday and was given the charge of Railways along with the Information and Technology Ministry.
In the past, Ashwini Vaishnav had also stood in support of Rashmi Samant, an Indian student who had resigned from the position of Oxford Student Union President in the United Kingdom after facing severe harassment. The Rajya Sabha MP had described it as a serious case of racism.
Twitter is yet to fully comply with IT Rules 2021: GOI to Delhi HC
OpIndia reported on July 5 that the central government had filed an affidavit in the Delhi HC, informing that despite three months time granted to all SSMIs (significant social media intermediaries) to comply with the IT Rules 2021, having expired on May 26, Twitter Inc has failed to comply with the same fully.
The Centre’s affidavit was in response to Twitter India’s affidavit in which it had informed the HC that the social networking platform is in the final stages of hiring a full-time resident grievance officer in accordance with the new IT Rule.
Though the microblogging site stated in court on Saturday that it is in the process of appointing a full-time resident grievance officer, that too in accordance with the new IT Rule, it was learnt that Twitter had appointed its California-based global legal policy director Jeremy Kessel as the new grievance officer for India. However, the new IT Rules call for an Indian resident for the role.
Moreover, now it has also been learnt that Twitter India not only appointed a non-Indian resident for the role but instead of appointing a full-time grievance officer, it had appointed an interim officer for the role, which is not in accordance with the law either.
Information Technology Rules 2021:
The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 were issued in February this year to bring transparency into the working of social media companies and have already been given 3 months time to comply with the new regulations.
The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, which came into effect from May 25, mandates the social media intermediaries with more than 5 million users and providing messaging services to identify the first originator of problematic content that may harm the country’s interests. The companies should also appoint an Indian grievance officer to deal with the complaints.
The non-compliance with rules will result in these platforms losing the intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.
Even though other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp have complied with the new laws, Twitter had last month asked the government for an additional three months for the same.