In an effort to tackle law and order and national security threat, the Centre has sought industry views on technical measures to be developed for blocking social media mobile apps like Telegram, Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp among others when faced with national security.
The Department of Telecom (DoT), in a letter, has called upon all telecom operators, the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI), industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and others to provide inputs to block the applications under Section 69A of the IT Act.
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"DoT in the letter had said that the Electronics and IT Ministry and enforcement agencies have raised issue around blocking of certain mobile apps like Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telecom, etc to meet requirement under Section 69A of IT Act," the PTI quoted an official source as saying.
The letter was written and sent to the concerned authorities on July 18, 2018.
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The Facebook-owned popular messaging app, WhatsApp, has been in the news for rampant misuse and abuse of its platform for circulation of damaging news that provoke and incite mob fury. While measures were reportedly in place, the previously listed measures by WhatsApp for checking fake news failed to impress the government. The government had recently warned the service of legal consequences in failure to make adequate checks. WhatsApp had then told the government that the focus of the firm was on improving its platform to ensure people’s safety.
Under the Section 69A of IT Act talks, directions for blocking for public access to any information through any computer resource can be issued. The law authorises the central government or any officer authorised by it to issue direction to block the information on Internet in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to them.
(With inputs from agencies)