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Social media policy for India to be prepared by January 2020: Centre

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The central government informed the Supreme Court that the finalization of the laws on regulating social media would be completed by January 2020.

On Monday, the central government informed the Supreme Court of India that the complete process of finalizing the laws on regulating social media would be completed in a few months by January 2020. The Centre sought three months more time for notifying the final revised rules as per law.

The government is looking to revise the existing rules for social media apps and platforms, like Tik Tok, Instagram, and others, that rely on the users to create content. The updated draft rules, filed last year, is presently under discussion to be vetted by the Law and Justice Ministry.

The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) told the apex court that despite the fact that technology had led to societal development and economic growth, it was also one of the reasons why there was an aggressive rise in fake news, hate speech, and anti-national activities.

The Supreme Court had asked the State to respond to the progress of the draft rules that were released last year for consultation. The government’s response confirms the fact that the regulations will turn up, but there’s no clarity whether the draft bill will be introduced precisely as it is in the current stage. The next hearing will be held today, i.e., 22nd October.

Social media, message traceability & Aadhaar linking

Earlier, in case hearings against Facebook and WhatsApp’s traceability issues to curb cybercrimes and intermediary liability, Madras High Court had suggested Aadhaar linking to social media to ensure message traceability. The SC hearing, headed by Justice Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, reportedly expressed their concerns that such social media platforms were not able to trace the originator of the message or online content.

The bench said that the issue around traceability on social media and instant messaging apps need to be dealt with while keeping the sovereignty of India, the privacy of an individual, and the prevention of illegal activities.

Previously, as reported by Hindu, the State had requested to show how Chennai’s Police Cyber Cell had sent social media firms around 1,940 requests for information related to various cases and investigations between 2016-18. Among these, 885, 155, and 11 applications were submitted to Facebook, Youtube, and Whatsapp, respectively. The reply received by the State Police was the Internet Protocol log details on 484 requests, including 221 submitted by Facebook, four by Youtube, one by Twitter, and none by Whatsapp. The TN government stated that the companies had refused to part the information for 1,456 cases.