Media platforms

Treat social media platforms like publishers, according to parliamentary panel


A parliamentary panel Thursday recommended seeking greater accountability from social media platforms by treating them like publishers, and including both personal and non-personal data under the proposed data protection law, PTI reported.

The Joint Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 tabled its report in both Houses of Parliament on Thursday. The committee was chaired by the deputy of the Bharatiya Janata party, PP Chaudhary.

“The committee, given the immediate need to regulate social media intermediaries, expressed the firm belief that these designated intermediaries can work as content editors in many situations, given that they have the ability to select the recipient of the content and also exercise control over access to any such content hosted by them, ”the report said.

No social media platform should be allowed to operate in the country unless the parent company establishes an office in India, the panel recommended, according to Herald of the Deccan. He called for a mechanism whereby social media platforms that do not act as intermediaries will be made responsible for content from unverified accounts on the platforms.

“Once the verification request is submitted with the necessary documents, social media intermediaries must verify the account,” adds the report.

The committee also recommended the establishment of a legal media regulatory authority to regulate content on all media platforms, whether print, online or otherwise. The panel said this authority could be modeled after the Press Council of India, PTI reported.

In addition, the panel said a framework should be created to regulate hardware manufacturers, who also collect data with software.

The committee added that the bill should not be called the Personal Data Protection Bill and suggested that it should not be limited to the protection of personal data.

Data protection bill

The Data Protection Bill proposes to restrict the use of people’s personal information without their express consent. Items covered by the bill include consent, personal data, waivers that may be granted, restrictions on the storage of personal data, and individual rights.

The Joint Commission on Personal Data Protection, 2019 was tasked with examining the bill. It consisted of 20 members of the Lok Sabha and 10 of the Rajya Sabha.

The committee held meetings with members of civil society, industry representatives and other stakeholders in the process of reviewing the bill.

Several MPs had expressed their disagreement before Parliament’s joint committee on the draft law on the protection of personal data after the panel adopted its draft report in November.

These included Congressmen Jairam Ramesh, Manish Tewari, Vivek Tankha and Gaurav Gogoi, Congress lawmakers from Trinamool Derek O’Brien and Mahua Moitra and Amar Patnaik from Biju Janata Dal.

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