Privacy Wars Escalate: Twitter, Delhi Police & MeitY issue statements

Twitter

Accusations, explanations, and rebuttals are being flung by all relevant authorities in the wake of Twitter Inc offices being raided by the Delhi Police.

The new IT Rules in India have become a bone of contention between social media platforms such as Twitter and government authorities, including the Delhi Police. Each has released a statement calling out the actions and intentions of the other — mincing no words. This has also given rise to discussions over the larger issue of privacy and privacy rules in India.

Twitter Says

“To keep our service available, we will strive to comply with applicable law in India,” said Twitter, adding, “But, just as we do around the world, we will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the rule of law.”

Highlighting the platform’s concern, the statement further read, “Right now, we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve.”

“We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT Rules,” the platform added, hinting at Delhi Police’s action.

Delhi Police Says

To rebut these claims, Delhi Police has released a statement: “We have come across press reports that quote Twitter Inc. statements pertaining to the ongoing inquiry by us. Prima facie, these statements are not only mendacious but designed to impede a lawful inquiry by a private enterprise.”

The statement also details the action by the police force in the country’s capital:

“Delhi police registered preliminary inquiry at the complaint filed by the representative of the Indian National Congress. Hence, efforts by Twitter that portray it as an FIR filed at the behest of the Government of India is wholly and completely incorrect. Twitter declared that the toolkit was ‘Manipulated Media’, this clearly shows that it was acquainted with the facts of the case & had material information relevant to the probe. Hence, Twitter was asked to join the inquiry to provide the information it possesses.”

MeitY Says

The Ministry of Electronics & IT has also issued a statement on the matter:

“Twitter needs to stop beating around the bush & comply with laws of the land. Lawmaking and policy formulations is the sole prerogative of the sovereign and Twitter is just a social media platform & it has no locus in dictating what India’s legal policy framework should be,” MeitY said.

These recently issued statements seem to suggest that things are getting heated up between the Indian government and Twitter Inc — with respect to the new IT rules in India. WhatsApp has also reportedly sued the government to protect the privacy rights of Indian citizens. The next few days are bound to be crucial for the case.


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