SECTION 69A OF THE IT ACT, 2000

  • A committee to consider blocking requests under the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information for Public) Rules, 2009, met 53 times in 2022, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology told Parliament on Wednesday.
  • The government issued orders directing the “blocking [of] a total of 2,799; 3,635; 9,849; 6,096 and 6,775 URLs during the years 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively”
  • In 2020, the government blocked several posts on social media that were critical of its handling of the pandemic, and also advised social media platforms to curb posts that called the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus an “Indian” one.
  • After that year, 2022 represents the highest number of blocking orders issued to Internet providers and social media platforms.
  • An RTI response obtained by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) reveals that of the 6,775 posts and websites, almost half were posts on Twitter.
  • The social media platform has been fighting against some takedown orders in the Karnataka High Court, but after the company was acquired by businessman Elon Musk
  • If the Twitter and non-Twitter URLs are taken together, the average for blocking orders recommended by the Review Committee under Rule 7 in 2021 is hundreds per month
  • “The Secretary [of] MeitY and the Committee are required to apply their mind to hundreds of such orders every month before giving their approval.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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