Twitter sues Indian government over strict law

Twitter goes to court to sue the Indian government. The government demanded that the microblogging service remove a number of tweets because of their content. Twitter complied, but is now taking legal action to ensure it cannot be forced to do so again in the future.

That reports The New York Times.

Twitter wants to prevent a repeat

According to the American newspaper, Twitter had until last Monday to delete a number of messages. It is unknown what kind of tweets were involved. What we do know is that these did not go down well with the Indian government. If Twitter did not heed this call, legal action would follow, the government threatened.

To make sure that the request wouldn’t harm the company, Twitter decided to pick eggs for the money. The microblogging service took the tweets in question offline.

The stocking is not over with that. To ensure that the company is not faced with the same dilemma again, Twitter is going to court. In this way, the American tech company wants to legally enforce that the Indian government cannot force the company to delete tweets in the future.

Tech companies are afraid of government censorship

Last year, India introduced new internet laws. This gives the Indian government more control over the content of online content. If something is said on the Internet that offends the government, it can force technology companies to delete the message, or hide accounts. If they fail to do so, executives can face criminal charges.

Critics think the new laws go too far. They are afraid of government censorship and that critical citizens and authorities will be silenced. The government says the measures are necessary to prevent the spread of fake news and disinformation.

Government sets up internet blockade

India is known for cracking down when critical voices are heard. In August 2019, Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s Hindu nationalist government lifted the autonomous status of the regions of Jammu and Kashmir. All telephone and internet traffic in these parts of the country was subsequently blocked.

This led to many protests and demonstrations. To avoid further unrest, the government decided to block the internet. In January 2020, India’s Supreme Court ruled that the blockade was illegal. According to the judge, the blockade was an abuse of power and in violation of the Indian telecom law and he ordered the government to lift the internet blockade.

In August, the Indian government heeded the appeal.

India postpones logging obligation for three months

VPN and VPS providers, data centres and cloud service providers are also at odds with the Indian government. He demanded that these companies keep logs from June 27. They had to register, among other things, who used their services, the start and end dates of a subscription, the original  IP address of users, email addresses, contact details, financial transactions and account cancellation dates.

This data must also be kept for five years after an account is closed. The log files of computer systems must be kept for 180 days in India. If necessary, this data should be handed over to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). Finally, tech companies are required to report a serious security problem, cyber attack, data breach or data theft within six hours.

After the decision, one VPN provider after another announced the removal of their location servers in India. It started with  ExpressVPN, followed by Surfshark and  Private Internet Access  (PIA). Recently, the Minister of Electronics and IT decided that the logging obligation will be postponed for three months. This means that the new regulations will not come into effect until September 25.

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