Mozilla, Internet Society flag concerns over India’s new social media rules

Mozilla and the US-based Internet Society have expressed concerns over the new IT rules for social media platforms, saying the rules may hurt end-to-end encryption, considerably enhance surveillance, promote automated filtering and immediate a fragmentation of the web that may harm customers.

Mozilla, the not-for-profit behind the favored internet browser Firefox, cautioned that the new rules may have a collection of unintended penalties on the well being of the web as a complete.

“While many of the most onerous provisions only apply to ‘significant social media intermediaries’ (a new classification scheme), the ripple effects of these provisions will have a devastating impact on freedom of expression, privacy and security,” it stated in a blogpost.

Mozilla additionally flagged “harsh” content material takedown and information sharing timelines beneath the new rules and stated provisions on traceability may break end-to-end encryption that may “weaken overall security and harm privacy”.

The new rules for intermediaries, introduced final week, are aimed toward addressing concerns like lack of grievance redressal, faux information and on-line security of customers amid rampant misuse of social media platforms.

The rules distinguish between ‘social media intermediaries’ and ‘important social media intermediaries’ with 50 lakh registered customers as the brink for the categorisation. Significant social media intermediaries must observe extra due diligence, together with the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact particular person and resident grievance officer, and all three officers ought to reside in India.

Industry watchers have raised concerns that these new rules may elevate compliance prices for gamers, making it tough for smaller corporations to compete towards greater giants like Facebook and Google.

The Internet Society — an American non-profit organisation that goals to advertise open growth, evolution, and use of the web — stated any makes an attempt to weaken encryption may undermine the digital safety of people.

Noelle Francesca De Guzman, Senior Advisor (Policy and External Engagement) on the Internet Society stated the Indian authorities should defend the safety and privateness of hundreds of thousands of individuals throughout India and protect uncompromised end-to-end encryption.

“Over 500 million citizens use end-to-end encrypted messaging apps in India and they rely on strong encryption to keep their communications safe and private,” Guzman stated.

After the rules have been spelt out final week, business physique Nasscom had famous that it’s crucial that there’s a stability between regulation and innovation because the world is in a part of accelerated know-how shifts.

ALSO READ: India’s new rules for social media, OTT platforms: 7 vital issues to know

The business physique had additionally identified that there’s a want for “responsible use” and constructing of know-how for all stakeholders — authorities, business, startups and residents.

The choice of voluntary self-verification of consumer accounts, the appropriate to obtain an explanatory notification on removing or disablement of entry, and to hunt treatment towards the motion being taken by the intermediaries could be useful for finish customers, Nasscom had stated.

The affiliation had additionally stated the federal government has emphasised that the new rules won’t curb creativity, and freedom of speech and expression of residents because it urged the federal government to make sure that that is the ‘design precept’ adopted throughout implementation.

As per the amended IT rules, social media and streaming corporations will probably be required to take down contentious content material shortly, appoint grievance redressal officers and help in investigations.

The ‘Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code’ designed to curb misuse of social media platforms require gamers like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter in addition to streaming companies corresponding to Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video to nominate executives to coordinate with regulation enforcement, disclose the primary originator of provocative content material and take away, inside 24 hours, content material depicting nudity or morphed photos of girls.

Any contentious content material flagged by the federal government or by a authorized order must be taken down inside 36 hours.

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