Explained: Why Twitter has moved court against govt’s content-blocking orders

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Why Twitter has moved court against govt’s content-blocking orders” published in Indian Express on 6th July 2022.

What is the News?

Twitter has initiated legal action against the Government of India’s order to take down certain content posted on the Twitter platform issued under Section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act,2000.

What is Section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act,2000?

It empowers the government to order an intermediary for blocking access to any information in the digital world.

The grounds for exercising the power are; threat to national security, public order, sovereignty and integrity of the country, 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.

Penal Provisions: The intermediary who fails to comply with the orders will be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to a fine.

Who are Intermediaries?

According to the definition under Section 2(w) of the IT Act, an intermediary includes telecom service providers, network service providers, internet service providers, web-hosting service providers, search engines, online payment sites, and online auction sites, online marketplaces, cyber cafes etc.

Blocking Orders

While Section 69A provides the government with the power to order an intermediary to block content, the procedure to do so is listed in the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

As per rules, any request made by the government is sent to a review committee, which then issues these directions. 

Note: Blocking orders issued under Section 69 (A) of the IT Act are typically confidential in nature.

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