The Indian Parliamentary Commission recommends treating social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as publishers and establishing regulatory bodies to oversee them. This can increase corporate responsibility for user-created content.

A high-level committee is in the process of considering a personal data protection bill introduced in 2019 aimed at protecting user privacy and tightly controlling the methods of companies such as Alphabet’s Google and Amazon. We have made these recommendations. Collect, process and store data.

The panel is calling for stricter rules, as current legislation dealing with these social media platforms as intermediaries isn’t working well for regulation, the two say they aren’t allowed to talk to the media. rice field. They also said that the current provisions of the personal data protection bill are too broad.

People said the Commission recommended that regulators should be established in line with the policies of the Indian Press Council to regulate the content. They said a mechanism could be devised for social media platforms to take responsibility for content from unidentified accounts.

PP Chaudhary, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, who leads the panel, said the report’s recommendations will be announced in parliament during the session starting November 29. He refused to discuss the content of the report.

If these recommendations are included in the revised bill and passed by Congress, it could have widespread implications for the operation of public and private companies in the world’s largest social media market. Violations under this bill could be fined up to 4% of the annual global sales of social media companies, similar to the penalties in the European Union.

Such movements reflect similar sentiment across India. Legislators from Washington to Brussels are considering actions to hold social media companies such as Facebook and Google accountable for the vast amount of content generated daily on the platform, a view that gained momentum during the pandemic. bottom.

In India, these companies have so far enjoyed “safe harbor” status and will not be responsible for user-generated content on the platform as long as they follow the interim guidelines issued earlier this year. .. This includes setting up an office in India, appointing a compliance officer, and complying with government requirements to remove certain types of content that are considered harmful.

Google declined to comment on the panel’s recommendations. Twitter and Facebook in Meta did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Data protection

With the surge in smartphone adoption in India, personal and sensitive information is exploding. However, legislation to protect user privacy is not moving at the same pace, raising concerns among activists and civic groups about potential abuse.

It took two years for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to enact data protection legislation after the Supreme Court ruled that privacy was a fundamental individual right. Parliamentary panels missed many deadlines to complete the report as lawmakers were split in some of the bill’s provisions. On Monday, the panel completed the report.

Members of the committee said they were in favor of expanding the scope of the bill to non-personal data. We also recommended that data companies be given approximately 24 months to implement the provisions of the law so they can make the necessary changes to their policies, infrastructure, and processes.

While some lawmakers have expressed reservations for this, the Panel also maintained provisions that would allow the government to grant its agencies an exemption from part of its legislation.

— With the support of Abhijit Roy Chowdhury and Saritha Rai.

© 2021 Bloomberg LP Facebook and Twitter should be monitored by new regulators, recommended by the Parliament of India panel


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