Govt. Can Block Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram For Protecting National Security!
Earlier, Supreme Court had rapped the Govt. for their plans to create Social Media hubs.
The pandora’s box is now open, and Govt. has decided to tackle the issue head-on.
In one of the strongest moves to block fake news, and hatred messages online, Govt. of India has sought methods and procedures to block Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and other online services.
Note here, that the inquiry about block has been made, only for extreme cases.
What are those cases, and what will happen now?
Read on to know more!
Govt Of India: How Can We Block Whatsapp, Facebook?
On July 18th, Department of Telecom or DoT wrote to all leading telecom operators and sought their views and opinions on a very crucial issue: How can they block Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram and other leading social media services.
As per the contents of that letter, it is clear that DoT wants the procedure to block these popular services, only in case of extreme violence or deteriorating law and order situation.
The letter was addressed to Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI), industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and other associations, and the request to know the method to block these services was made under Section 69A of the IT Act.
The letter said, “……requested to explore various possible options and confirm how the Instagram/Facebook/Whatsapp/Telegram and other such mobile apps can be blocked on internet,”
Assocham Opposes This Move
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India or Assocham, a powerful association of businesses in India have strongly opposed this move by Govt. of India.
In response to the letter by DoT, Assocham has said that the move can harm businesses in India. Assocham said that the move was “excessive, unnecessary and would greatly harm India’s reputation as growing hub of innovation in technology”.
In their defense, Govt. of India, under Section 69A of the IT Act, has the right to block access to any digital information in case of extreme conditions such as deteriorating law and order situation.
Supreme Court Is Against Social Media Monitoring
Interestingly, around 3 weeks back, Supreme Court of India had rapped the Govt. over their plans to monitor and regulate social media.
Scolding the Govt. over their plans to restrict and regulate social media, bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud had said that the move to create ‘social media hubs’ for monitoring social media will create a “surveillance state” and amount to “sheer intrusion into privacy”.
Responding to the scoldings, Attorney General KK Venugopal (representing the Govt.), said, “The petition has become infructuous. We are withdrawing the RFP (Request For Proposal).”
On May 13th, we had reported that Govt. will create several social media hubs, which will be used to track and monitor digital communications of Indian citizens. A request for proposal had been sought from concerned companies, who can make this happen.
Now, this RFP has been dropped, but DoT’s letter seeking ways to block Whatsapp, Instagram and other social media channels means something else.
Do you think Govt. should ban Whatsapp, Facebook in some special cases? Do let us know by commenting right here!