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Twitter sues Govt of India over content takedown orders

IFM_Twitter vs GOI
Twitter filed a lawsuit over excessive use of power by government representatives

Twitter has taken legal action against some of the Indian government letters, demanding the removal of particular content uploaded on the microblogging website in its most recent dispute with the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY).

The social network business filed a lawsuit against the Ministry’s content-blocking orders under Section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 on Tuesday, alleging excessive use of power by government representatives.

Twitter received a letter from the IT Ministry in June requesting that it comply with its directives by July 4 in order to maintain its safe harbour status under the intermediary rules.

What is Section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act?
The Centre may issue a blocking order to social media intermediaries in accordance with Section 69(A) of the IT Act, 2000, “In the interest of the 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 above.”

Any government request is forwarded to a review committee, which subsequently issues these instructions, in accordance with the regulations governing these blocking orders.

Blocking orders given out in accordance with Section 69 (A) of the IT Act are normally of a confidential character.

Why has Twitter filed this lawsuit?
According to Twitter, many of the blocking orders violate Section 69(A) of the Act due to procedural and substantive flaws. This includes things like removing user-posted content without giving them a prior warning.

Another report claims that MeitY failed to show how some of the content it wanted to be removed was in violation of Section 69 (A).

Twitter has argued that the reasons why the Ministry flagged various accounts and postings are either “overbroad and arbitrary” or “disproportionate” in a number of instances.

According to Twitter, some of the ministry’s flagged content may relate to official political party accounts, and blocking them may violate their right to free speech, a source claimed.

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