Govt Doesn’t Want Apple To Follow New IT Policy Because Of This Reason: Discrimination Against Whatsapp, Twitter?
Newest reports have revealed that the government of India has now withdrawn the letter that was sent to Apple. The letter asked for details about the tech giants compliance with the new IT rules that were introduced in February.
Why did the Government withdraw the letter sent to Apple? Read on to find out what went down!
Government Withdraws Letter To Apple That Sought Details About Compliance To New IT Rules
The new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 were announced by the government in February 2021.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITY) has now introduced the new draft of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, for social media platforms, OTT players & digital media. These include asking the social media companies to reveal the originator of a message or tweet.
The new IT rules also direct that a committee of ministers will have final veto rights over content that is considered problematic for law and order or security. They can also order its removal totally.
A letter was written to all the social media intermediaries by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) asking about the details of compliance with the new IT rules. Apple was reportedly one of these, but now has asserted that it is not.
Why Is Apple Not A Social Media Intermediary?
Apparently, the government has reached an understanding that Apple’s iMessage is not to be considered as a social media intermediary, which is “primarily or solely enables online interaction between two or more users and allows them to create, upload, share, disseminate, modify, or access information using its services.”
Recently, we reported to you about Google’s stand that the Indian IT laws are not applicable to it since it is a search engine and an aggregator, and not a social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
However, this is contrary to Apple’s marketing of the messaging service, which highlights the platform’s ability to let people interact between iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac users.
The MeitY has said that as Apple’s service is not a standalone messaging app that can be downloaded on any device and is not being considered as being “primarily or solely” an entity separate from the company.
As per a senior government official, “Unlike other messaging apps like, say, WhatsApp, can anyone download iMessage on their phone and use it? If that logic is to be applied, even food delivery platforms, and especially gaming platforms provide an option of chatting with other gamers. Should they also be considered a social media intermediary then? The answer is no.”
It is also unclear whether Apple would be responsible for providing traceability records of iMessage conversations. Apple probably is not required to have local compliance, nodal, and grievance officers in the country, as it is not counted among the significant social intermediaries.