Twitter filed suit against India’s government to challenge a recent order that required it ban certain accounts and remove some content. Officials insist they must comply with the law.
Filed in the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore on Tuesday, Twitter’s complaint alleges that the government order constitutes “a violation of the freedom of speech guaranteed to citizen-users of the platform,”TechCrunch says that the law does not support it.
Twitter was told that they had until Monday to clean up dozens accounts and post. Although a spokesperson said the company did so, the New York Times received a legal challenge shortly after.
The government responded to Twitter’s new suit during a news briefing on Tuesday, with electronics and information technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw insisting “It is everyone’s responsibility to abide by the laws passed by the country’s parliament.”
The Indian government passed a law last year that gave authorities greater oversight over social media. Officials can order takedowns of problematic material, such as alleged hate speech and disinformation. If platforms don’t comply with the law, their liability protections could be removed and they may face legal action for postings by users.
Although Twitter cooperates with these orders in large part, there have been concerns about the privacy of those tweets. “potential threat to freedom of expression”The rules could lead to public squabbles with officials who are supposed to enforce laws “arbitrarily and disproportionately.”
The latest lawsuit follows a similar legal challenge by WhatsApp, which also pushed back on India’s stricter social media regulations after it was told it would be forced to make private messages “traceable”for law enforcement upon request. Although the case remains pending, it has been argued by government that privacy rights do not apply. “absolute” “subject to reasonable restrictions.”
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