The day long National Integration Council meeting held in the national capital which was chaired by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, has been focused towards social media. Now it has been reported by the Deccan Chronicle, that the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has asked the Centre to ensure that all the social networking websites locate their servers in India for the cyber traffic generated within the country enabling the law enforcement agencies swiftly gather evidence.
Addressing the delegates in the meeting the CM further added, “Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are used to unleash propaganda by communal elements, hate propaganda which spreads rapidly has potential to create trouble. The state agencies are handicapped as the material can be uploaded from anywhere in the world. If these sites are governed by Indian laws, the agencies can gather evidence swiftly.”
Earlier similar concerns for social media had been shared by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and our PM too at the NIC meeting. The Haryana CM cited a recent case where some persons tried to create communal tension in Gurgaon and Rewari districts on the issue of transportation of cows. He further added,
“It has often been seen that social networking sites such as Facebook, MMS, Twitter etc become a media in spreading propaganda through video clippings and messages of incidents with communal overtones – instigating hatred among various communities leading to flaring up of the communal situation.”
The daylong meeting which was attended by a 148-member body that included Union Ministers, Leaders of the Opposition in Parliament, chief ministers, leaders of national and regional political parties, eminent people from media, etc. was chaired by the Prime Minister, who also expressed serious concern over the misuse of social media to spread objectionable content and hatred among communities.
Speaking at the gathering, the PM shared that the recent communal violence in some cases have brought to notice circulation of fake videos aimed at inciting the feeling of hatred in one community towards the other while comparing the present riots in UP with the 2012 Northeast tensions.
But Kiran Kumar Reddy has opened up an old issue that the present government had relentlessly persuaded last year after witnessing the NE tensions. However, there has been no progress and companies like Facebook, Twitter have avoided the question by saying that they are governed by US laws.
However, the matters have gained deeper concern for international countries after it was revealed by The Guardian that the US government with the help of tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. is accessing not only local users data but even global users too. In its reports, Guardian had stated that USA has collected 6.3 Billion data from India in March 2013 through its Prism program by tapping into the servers of tech companies for information including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats.
Lately the President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff has been trying to push an Internet bill that will force internet giants to set up local servers in the country. Though India has set up its own PRISM like replica for monitoring mobile and online activities of people but pushing tech giants to set up their local servers here would also be on its agenda.
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