India Wants Tech Platforms To Break Encryption, Scrub “Unlawful” Content

The government of India wants tech platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Google to remove content it deems “unlawful” within 24 hours of official notice, and develop “automated tools” which would “proactively identify and remove such material,” reports BuzzFeed, citing the publication of the proposed rules by India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The rules would also require companies to break end-to-end encryption to allow the government to snoop on communications. 

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) published the proposed rules on its website following a report on Monday by the Indian Express revealing the government’s proposal to modify the country’s primary IT law to work them in. The report comes days after India’s government seemingly authorized 10 federal agencies to snoop into every computer in the country last week.

The proposed measures have provoked concerns from privacy activists who say they would threaten free speech and enable mass surveillance. –BuzzFeed

THIS IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. THIS IS CHINESE POLICY. HOW DID WE GO FROM PRIVACY AS FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO SURVEILLANCE? #censorship #surveillance #privacy #facebook #google

— Megha Mandavia (@MeghaMandaviaET) December 25, 2018

 Under the new rules, any platform with over 5 million users in India would be required to appoint a “person of contact” to provide “24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and officers,” while also maintaining records of “unlawful activity” for a period of six months – or indefinitely if ordered by a court.

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