Apart from notices from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Twitter also received take-down notices from multiple state police forces and EC.
NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India, made at least 21 requests to Twitter this year till August end, seeking blocking of at least 121 Twitter accounts that were indulging in propaganda related to Kashmir.
All these requests to Twitter were made by MeitY under Section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, that gives the ministry the power to issue directions for blocking information hosted in any “computer resource” that impacts security and other grounds.
No other ground was specified in the notice that was served to Twitter.
As per Lumen Database, a US-based project designed to facilitate research on internet take-down notices, a majority of such notices was served to Twitter by MeitY in August 2019.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) keeps an eye on various social media platforms for objectionable posts and shares the same with MeitY for further actions. Apart from notices from MeitY, Twitter also received separate take-down notices from multiple state police forces and Election Commission of India.
At least nine such notices were served to Twitter by MeitY that resulted in the blocking of 33 accounts in the month of August. India had abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution that related to Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August, following which security observers had witnessed a spike in anti-India related content on Twitter, a major part of which was originating from Pakistan. It is quite possible that many more Twitter accounts, indulging in “propaganda”, were blocked on the request of the Government of India. However, since Lumen Database only has access to information and notices that are shared with it by users whose accounts have been blocked, there could be many more notices which are not a part of the Lumen Database because the account holders did not share the said information with Lumen Database.
The government, on its part, does not make such take-down notices public as a result of which researchers and journalists have to depend on open source platforms to get such information. In January, four such requests were made by MeitY that related to 50 Twitter accounts. Two requests were made in February (related to 16 accounts), two in March (13 accounts), one in April (related to one account), one in May (one account), one in June (six accounts) and one in July (one account).