6775 URLs blocked in 2022
- February 9, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
6775 URLs blocked in 2022
- A committee to consider blocking requests under the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information for Public) Rules, 2009, met 53 times in 2022, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology told Parliament.
- An RTI response obtained by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) reveals that of the 6,775 posts and websites, almost half were posts on Twitter.
In which situations can online content be blocked?
- Executive route- Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 allows the government to direct an intermediary to block online content for access by the public.
- In the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India
- Defence of India
- Security of the state
- Friendly relations with foreign states
- Public order
- Preventing incitement to commission of any cognisable offence
- Section 69A draws its power from Article 19(2) of the Constitution which allows the government to place reasonable restrictions on the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.
- Judicial route- Courts in India, also have the power to direct intermediaries to make content unavailable in India to provide effective remedy to the victim/plaintiff.
- For example, courts may order internet service providers to block websites which provide access to pirated content and violate the plaintiff’s copyright.
Procedure for blocking access to content online
- IT Rules 2009- The Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009 have been formulated under Section 69A of the IT Act.
- Power of the government- Only the Central government can exercise this power of directing intermediaries to block access to online content directly, and not the State governments.
- Nodal officer– Central or State agencies will appoint a nodal officer who will forward the blocking order to the designated officer of the Central government.
- Designated officer– The designated officer, as part of a committee, examines the request of the nodal officer.
- Committee– The committee comprises representatives from the Ministries of Law and Justice, Information and Broadcasting, Home Affairs, and the Cert-In.
- Opportunity of hearing– The creator/host of the content in question is given a notice to submit clarifications and replies.
- Recommendation of the committee– The committee then makes a recommendation on whether the request of the nodal officer should be accepted or not.
- Removal of content– If this recommendation is approved by the MeitY, the designated officer can direct the intermediary to remove content.