Govt prepared to carry stricter social media guidelines: Vaishnaw to Rajya Sabha | Newest Information India

Union Electronics and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said action had been taken against apps like Bulli Bai that sparked outrage after photos of Muslim women were shared without their consent

ThroughDeeksha BhardwajHindustan Times, New Delhi

The government is ready to introduce tougher rules to hold social media companies accountable and keep citizens safe online if there is consensus in the House of Representatives, Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Tuesday Friday opposite Rajya Sabha.

Vaishnaw said this in response to a request from Congressman Anand Sharma for more accountability from social media companies. Vaishnaw added that law enforcement agencies act based on reports from India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) or the Department of Electronics and Information Technology.

“There is also a central portal where such cases can be registered and forwarded to the relevant law enforcement agency… I agree with you that as a society we need to move forward and create more accountability,” the minister said.

On January 3, HT reported on a preliminary discussion paper circulating in the ministry on the need for an international uniform law for social media companies.

The contours of the law were discussed in the ministry. Officials familiar with the development said the new legislation could also be expanded to include regulation and response to user harm, child safety concerns, political content moderation, definitions and regulations for high-risk artificial technology, and privacy concerns in the to include the connection with new devices such as portable devices.

In response to a question about the actions taken on the Bulli Bai and Sulli Deals apps – both of which used images of Muslim women to auction them off – Vaishnaw insisted immediate action had been taken.

Vaishnaw said it’s not about religion, it’s about protecting women. “Whenever we try to regulate social media, the opposition says we are attacking freedom of expression. We need to build consensus to create an accountable social media ecosystem where women can feel safe,” he said.

“The action is not just superficial, but CERT-IN has carried out in-depth investigations,” he added.

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