Google, Facebook update website to comply with IT rules

Agencies
May 30, 2021

New Delhi, May 30: Large digital companies like Google and Facebook have begun updating their websites to reflect the appointment of the grievance officers under the new social media rules that came into effect recently.

According to government sources, large social media companies like Google, Facebook and WhatsApp have shared details with the IT Ministry as per the requirement of the new digital rules, but Twitter is still not following the norms.

The new rules require significant social media intermediaries – those with other 50 lakh users – to appoint a grievance officer, nodal officer and a chief compliance officer. These personnel are required to be resident in India.

Industry sources said Facebook and WhatsApp have already shared their compliance report with the Ministry of Electronics and IT, and that the details of the new grievance officers appointed are being updated to replace the existing information on these platforms.

Google’s ‘Contact Us’ page shows details of Joe Grier as a contact person with an address from Mountain View, US. The page also contains details on the grievance redressal mechanism for YouTube.

As per the rules, all intermediaries have to prominently publish on their website, app or both, the name of the grievance officer and his/her contact details as well as the mechanism by which a user or a victim may make a complaint.

The grievance officer will have to acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and dispose of such complaint within a period of 15 days from the date of its receipt; and receive and acknowledge any order, notice or direction issued by the authorities.

The government sources on Friday had said that Twitter is not following the norms.

Twitter has not sent details of the chief compliance officer to the IT Ministry, and shared details of a lawyer working in a law firm as a nodal contact person and grievance officer, they added.

This when the IT rules clearly require these designated officers of the significant social media platforms to be employees of the company and resident in India, they pointed out.

While Twitter did not respond to email queries on the issue, its website mentions Dharmendra Chatur as the ‘Resident Grievance Officer for India (Interim)’.

Google, Facebook and WhatsApp also did not respond to detailed email queries on the appointment of the personnel as required by the new IT rules.

The sources had earlier said that besides Google, Facebook and WhatsApp, other significant social media intermediaries like Koo, Sharechat, Telegram and LinkedIn too have shared details with the ministry as per the requirement of the IT norms.

Under the new rules, social media companies will have to take down flagged content within 36 hours, and remove within 24 hours content that is flagged for nudity, pornography etc.

The Centre has said the new rules are designed to prevent abuse and misuse of platforms, and offer users a robust forum for grievance redressal.

Non-compliance with the rules would result in these platforms losing the intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.

After the new norms came into effect on May 26, the IT Ministry had turned up the heat on significant social media companies, asking them to immediately report compliance and provide details of the three key officials appointed.

The new IT rules also require significant social media intermediaries – providing services primarily in the nature of messaging – to enable identification of the “first originator” of the information that undermines the sovereignty of India, the security of the state, or public order.

The large platforms have to also publish periodic compliance reports every month mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken thereon, and the number of specific communication links or parts of information that the intermediary has removed or disabled access to in pursuance of any proactive monitoring conducted by using automated tools or other reasons. 
 

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News Network
November 19,2021

New Delhi, Nov 19: After withdrawing the contentious land ordinances in 2015, this is the second time that the Prime Minister Narendra Mod led union government has had to blink on the farmers' issue ahead of the state polls. In 2015, it was months before the Bihar polls and this time, it was just a few months before polls in half a dozen states.

The move comes just a couple of months before the elections in states including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, which were the epicentres of farmers' agitation. The BJP has been getting feedback from the ground that the ongoing farmers agitation could harm BJP's election prospects, particularly in Western Uttar Pradesh where the agitation had united the jats against the government and in Punjab where BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal broke its ties with the saffron party in protest against the farm laws.

What remains to be seen is whether the BJP tries to get its oldest ally back to the NDA fold besides forging a closer tie with Captain Amarinder Singh's new party.

In UP, the Samajwadi Party, the BJP's main rival, had allied with Jayant Chautala-led Rashtriya Lok Dal in Western UP, which appeared to pose a big challenge to the BJP after the farmers agitation. In his speech before announcing the decision to withdraw the farm billls, PM Modi reached out to the marginal farmers, who he said account for 80 per cent of the community. 

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News Network
November 20,2021

New Delhi, Nov 20: Om Raj excitedly shows his small diary carrying details of all the friends he made at Singhu border, while Manak Singh says he will miss the protest site which witnessed their daily hardship for over a year to convince the Centre to repeal the farm laws.

Sitting with his friends on a cot near temporary tents set up at Ghazipur border, Raj (85) said the protest venue now feels like home and that the agitating farmers have developed a deep bond with each other.

The farmer, a native of Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, shows his diary in which he has meticulously maintained details of all the protesters he has befriended in the past one year.

"See this is my tenth diary and there are hardly any pages left. I have maintained details of all the farmers I met here and became friends with over the period. We all stay in touch. The bond that we developed here has only become stronger. I also plan to visit them,” Raj says enthusiastically.

At Ghazipur border, one of the three prominent venues of the anti-farm laws agitation, protesters were filled with excitement following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of repealing the controversial farm laws.

Another protestor says he will definitely miss the venue after he will return to his village.

Asked if he ever went to his hometown during the last one year, Raj recalled that he visited his native place on just two to three occasions and returned within a few days.

Since the last two months, the elderly farmer has set up a small venture which he starts at around 10 am and closes by 5 in the evening. He says the intention behind it was just to have some ‘gupshup’ (conversation) and pass the time with other farmers.

He also showed the spread of the products for sale -- bidis, matchboxes, badges and flags.

"When the farmers get bored, they sit here and pass time. I sell bidis and matchboxes which usually fetches me around Rs 100 a day,” he said.

Manak Singh (77), a native of Amroha district in Punjab, says, "This spot has become our place for chit-chat. We will stay here until all the laws are repealed as per legal procedure. We will not go unless all our listed seven demands are met by the central government. This announcement by the Centre could have also been done with upcoming elections in mind."

Having braved severe weather conditions and other hardship during their protest, the farmers say this has only made their brotherhood and will power stronger.

"If the government would have made this announcement earlier, we would not have suffered so much," a protester rues.

Meanwhile, a few tents away, 68-year-old Ram Kumar Sharma, hailing from Nithari village in Noida, had been serving ‘langar’ (free meals) from morning till night, at the protest site for nearly a year now.

Sharma, who is also a member of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, says he comes around 10 am and leaves at night after the last langar is served.

“I have been organising the langar with the spirit of social service. I will miss the farmers after they will leave the site,” he says.

“I do not want to see anyone going back with an empty stomach. I am myself a farmer and do not want to see anyone hungry,” he adds.

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News Network
November 17,2021

Bengaluru, Nov 17: An FIR has been registered against the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) Deputy Commissioner and two others in connection with allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs 1.70 crore and cheating a homemaker after promising to get a compensation for acquired land, police said on Wednesday.

Hema S. Raju, the 45-year old homemaker, a resident of Jayanagar, has lodged the complaint against BDA Deputy Commissioner Shivaraj, BDA officer Mahesh Kumar and broker Mohan Kumar with the RT Nagar police station.

The complainant has alleged that the accused Mohan Kumar had even threatened to get her killed by giving 'supari' if she continued to make phone calls to him.

The complainant Hema had been approaching BDA for a compensation amount for her 2.34 acre land in Hennur and Srirampura localities of Bengaluru, acquired for development of Arkavathi Layout in 2013.

The woman said that the accused officer Mahesh Kumar told her that another accused Shivaraj had kept her files pending and got him transferred from the Land Acquisition.

Mahesh Kumar further told her that if she wanted her work to be done, he should again get the same posting. He also told her that for doing that they will have to talk to accused Mohan Kumar, a broker.

Accordingly, the complainant met Mohan Kumar in January, 2020. He demanded Rs 1.50 crore bribe to get the compensation amount released. She gave Rs 50 lakh bribe on the same day, the complainant said in her plea.

She said after this Mahesh Kumar was transferred to the Land Acquisition department to facilitate the movement of her files. BDA Deputy Commissioner Shivaraj had taken Rs 20 lakh as bribe at this juncture, she said.

"In a phased manner the three accused got a total amount of Rs 1.10 crore from me. Accused Mohan Kumar kept on calling me and took Rs 60 lakh in addition after blackmailing that he would stall the movement of my file. But, even after paying money, I didn't get the compensation amount," she mentioned in her complaint.

When Hema contacted accused Shivaraj, he told that he was transferred to a different post and he is not concerned with her case any more. Broker Mohan Kumar threatened her that he would get her killed if she pursued the case. The police are now investigating her complaint. 

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