Need for balance: On web content regulation

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Need for balance: On web content regulation

Proposed rules for online intermediaries should not infringe on privacy of users
The Supreme Court’s decision to take over the hearing of all pending cases relating(संबंधित ) to web content regulation(विनियमन), including the role of intermediaries(बिचौलियों/मध्यवर्ती संस्थाएँ) and the traceability(पता लगाने की क्षमता) of encrypted messages, is both a challenge and an opportunity(अवसर). The Centre has informed the court that it intends (इरादा )to notify(सूचित ) by January 2020 new guidelines for intermediaries, a term that covers the Internet and other online service providers and includes(शामिल ) social media platforms. Even while transferring (स्थानांतरित करना)to itself related cases pending in different High Courts, the court has rightly decided to hear them only after the Centre notifies its new guidelines for intermediaries. After all, it is for the executive (कार्यकारी)to frame policy on this sensitive(संवेदनशील ) matter, while the question whether social media need weeding out of objectionable(आपत्तिजनक ) content(सामग्री) will ultimately(अंतत) require(आवश्यकता ) adjudication(न्यायिक निर्णय/अधिनिर्णय ). The challenge before the government and the court is to find a balance between requiring access to the originators(प्रवर्तकों) of encrypted content and respecting individual(व्यक्तिगत ) privacy(गोपनीयता). It is also a unique(अनोखा ) opportunity(अवसर) to test the impact(प्रभाव) of the K.S. Puttaswamy verdict(निर्णय/विचार) (2017) on the proposed legal framework. The judgment had declared(घोषणा की) privacy as a fundamental right and laid down a proportionality(समानता) standard(मानक) to test the validity of restrictions(प्रतिबंध) on that right. The government has voiced(स्वर) concern(चिंतित ) about the threat(धमकी/आशंका) posed by social media content to the democratic(लोकतांत्रिक ) polity through fake news and hate speech, to the country’s security and sovereignty(संप्रभुता), as well as to society through undesirable(अवांछनीय ) online content such as child pornography and communal messaging.

The Centre’s new draft of Intermediary(मध्यवर्ती ) Guidelines(दिशानिर्देश), originally(मौलिक रूप से) issued in 2011, was made public last year, and comments invited from all sections. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has received numerous responses(प्रतिक्रियाएं ), and inter-ministerial discussions(चर्चा) have taken place. It is not yet known whether concerns voiced by Internet freedom activists(कार्यकर्ता) and social media companies will be factored into the final notification. In particular, the provisions(प्रावधान) on the mandatory(अनिवार्य ) disclosure(खुलासा) of “originators” of offending(अपमानजनक ) messages are a source of worry to social media platforms that use end-to-end encryption. Whether it is technologically feasible(संभव/संगत) for the platforms to provide back-door access to law enforcement is itself in doubt. While the government’s larger concern about the use of messaging technology and the potential(संभावित) for ‘virality(क्षमता)’ of fake news and hate-mongering is quite valid, the threshold for law enforcing(लागू करने वाली) agencies to seek a ‘key’ to unlock the encryption ought not to be low. Vague appeals to ‘security’ and ‘sovereignty’, and a blanket claim of crime prevention(रोकथाम ) contingency(आकस्मिकता) without narrowly defined circumstances(परिस्थितियों ) in which intermediaries should be obliged(बाध्य/आभारी) to help the agencies, can have a devastating(विनाशकारी ) effect(प्रभाव ) on privacy. Other requirements such as proactive( सक्रिय ) removal of offending content through automated(स्वचालित ) tools may also come close to infringing(उल्लंघन/अवहेलना करना ) free speech and expression(अभिव्यक्ति). The line between public interest and individual rights should be thick(मोटी/घना ) and clear

Important Vocabulary

1. Circumstances(परिस्थितियों )
Synonyms: assets, capital, chances, class, command
Antonyms: debt, poorness, poverty

2. Disclosure(खुलासा
Synonyms: acknowledgment, admission, confession, discovery, exposure
Antonyms: concealment, denial, secret

3. Devastating(विनाशकारी
Synonyms: calamitous, destructive, disastrous, overwhelming, annihilating
Antonyms: blessed, fortunate

4. Expression(अभिव्यक्ति).
Synonyms: definition, explanation, interpretation, language, phrase
Antonyms: question, silence, concealment, denial, quiet

5. Intermediaries(बिचौलियों/मध्यवर्ती संस्थाएँ
Synonyms: broker, emissary, go-between, mediator, negotiator
Antonyms: end

6. Infringing(उल्लंघन/अवहेलना करना
Synonyms: breach, contravene, disobey, encroach, impose
Antonyms: give, obey, receive, comply, discharge

7. Opportunity(अवसर)
Synonyms: convenience, event, excuse, freedom, hope
Antonyms: closing, closure, misfortune, reality, truth

8. Obliged (बाध्य/आभारी)
Synonyms: compelled, duty-bound, enslaved, indebted, obligated

9. objectionable(आपत्तिजनक
Synonyms: abhorrent, deplorable, distasteful, noxious, obnoxious
Antonyms: acceptable, agreeable, delicious, delightful, good

10. Proactive( सक्रिय
Synonyms: aggressive, anxious, ardent, banzai, can-do

11. Sensitive(संवेदनशील
Synonyms: conscious, delicate, emotional, hypersensitive, keen
Antonyms: calm, ignorant, imprecise, insensitive, laid-back

12. Sovereignty(संप्रभुता)
Synonyms: dominance, jurisdiction, supremacy, ascendancy, ascendant
Antonyms: submission

13. Thick(मोटी/घना
Synonyms: broad, chunky, fat, hard, heavy
Antonyms: easy, little, narrow, restricted, skinny

14.Verdict(निर्णय/विचार)
Synonyms: answer, award, conclusion, decision, decree
Antonyms: accusation

 

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

Proposed rules for online intermediaries should not infringe on privacy of users
The Supreme Court’s decision to take over the hearing of all pending cases relating to web content regulation, including the role of intermediaries and the traceability of encrypted messages, is both a challenge and an opportunity. The Centre has informed the court that it intends to notify by January 2020 new guidelines for intermediaries, a term that covers the Internet and other online service providers and includes social media platforms. Even while transferring to itself related cases pending in different High Courts, the court has rightly decided to hear them only after the Centre notifies its new guidelines for intermediaries. After all, it is for the executive to frame policy on this sensitive matter, while the question whether social media need weeding out of objectionable content will ultimately require adjudication. The challenge before the government and the court is to find a balance between requiring access to the originators of encrypted content and respecting individual privacy. It is also a unique opportunity to test the impact of the K.S. Puttaswamy verdict (2017) on the proposed legal framework. The judgment had declared privacy as a fundamental right and laid down a proportionality standard to test the validity of restrictions on that right. The government has voiced concern about the threat posed by social media content to the democratic polity through fake news and hate speech, to the country’s security and sovereignty, as well as to society through undesirable online content such as child pornography and communal messaging.

The Centre’s new draft of Intermediary Guidelines, originally issued in 2011, was made public last year, and comments invited from all sections. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has received numerous responses, and inter-ministerial discussions have taken place. It is not yet known whether concerns voiced by Internet freedom activists and social media companies will be factored into the final notification. In particular, the provisions on the mandatory disclosure of “originators” of offending messages are a source of worry to social media platforms that use end-to-end encryption. Whether it is technologically feasible for the platforms to provide back-door access to law enforcement is itself in doubt. While the government’s larger concern about the use of messaging technology and the potential for ‘virality’ of fake news and hate-mongering is quite valid, the threshold for law enforcing agencies to seek a ‘key’ to unlock the encryption ought not to be low. Vague appeals to ‘security’ and ‘sovereignty’, and a blanket claim of crime prevention contingency without narrowly defined circumstances in which intermediaries should be obliged to help the agencies, can have a devastating effect on privacy. Other requirements such as proactive removal of offending content through automated tools may also come close to infringing free speech and expression. The line between public interest and individual rights should be thick and clear


 

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