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Government cannot revoke ‘middle man’ status of Twitter: Experts | India News

NEW DELHI: Several digital rights experts and technology lawyers have stated that the Union government cannot revoke Twitter’s “broker” status in case of breach of the new IT Rules, as they are protected by section 79 of the IT Law. The reactions came after the Ghaziabad police filed an FIR against the social media giant for spreading a video of an elderly man who was allegedly beaten by a group of people for his religion.
“The Center understands that there is a legal problem here because not even the IT minister has said that Twitter is losing its status as an intermediary,” said Prasanna S, a lawyer who has represented the petitioners in the Aadhaar privacy case in the Supreme Court.
According to Prasanna, Twitter can move the courts if they receive a notice under section 41A of the CRPC. “This FIR has no land. In all likelihood, there will be no investigation against Twitter. But if Twitter receives a warning, they can move the court to annul the FIR, “he added.

The new rules, notified on February 25, 2021, were implemented a month later, in March. According to the Center, the rules were necessary to stop the threat of online disinformation, child sexual abuse material, among other things.
Delhi-based advocacy group Software Freedom Law Center also explained that social media platforms, if held liable for user content, can only be tested on a case-by-case basis. “The term ‘broker’ is defined in Section 2 (w) of the Information Technology Act of 2000 … Twitter is an intermediary under the IT Act and this status cannot be removed,” said the Chief Legal Officer. from SFLC, Prasanth Sugathan.
Sugathan said protection under section 79 of the TI Act is conditional on the intermediary observing due diligence while fulfilling his duties under the Act and observing the guidelines prescribed by the central government. “When it comes to safe harbor protection, it is the courts that must determine and not the government declare them. Twitter has stated that it has taken various steps to comply with the 2021 Rules … It would be better to let the courts decide whether these measures are sufficient to comply with the rules, “he said.
According to digital expert Kazim Rizvi, only the courts can decide the extent of protection for intermediaries. “… Any coverage that Twitter is responsible for content posted by its users is an incorrect interpretation of the law,” he said.



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