May be notified soon, Central government’s counsel tells Madras High Court.

  • The Centre has informed the Madras High Court that deliberations on the Draft Information Technology Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules 2018, which mandate social media companies to cooperate with the police in cracking cybercrimes, had been completed.
  • A Division Bench was told by the Central government’s senior counsel that the process of notifying the rules was in an advanced stage.
  • Counsel supported the State’s stand that the HC could continue to hear the present case, without transferring it to the SC.
  • The Centre was only concerned with cooperation between social media companies and the police and not with the linking of Aadhaar to users’ social media accounts.
  • After recording the submission, the judges said they hoped the Central govt. would take the same stand before the SC, which was seized of a plea by FB to transfer the case.
  • Passing interim orders, the SC had restrained the HC from passing any effective order in the case.
  • Senior counsel urged the court to replace Twitter Inclusive, which runs the operations in the U.S. alone, with ‘Twitter International Company’, which manages the business of the social media giant across the world but for the U.S., in the list of respondents to the case.
  • The judges accepted the request and ordered the amendment of the cause title.
  • Initially, one of the advocates had approached the court to obtain an order for linking Aadhaar with social media accounts so that those who indulge in abuses and criminal activities could be identified easily and punished by the law enforcers.
  • However, the HC made it clear at the threshold that it was not in favor of such a plea. Instead, it expanded the scope of the case and suo motu impleaded Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp as parties to the case so that they could be made to cooperate with the local police in cracking cybercrimes by sharing necessary information.
  • The social media giants were bound to obey local laws of the country in which they operate and share requisite information with the police. It said, the companies could not take umbrage under the right to privacy.
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