The government is unlikely to bring back any rules that even remotely represent the now-struck-down Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, after the Supreme Court had directed the government to relook into the law.
“There is no reason of (Section) 66 coming back,” said Arvind Gupta, who leads the technology initiatives for the government as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party, on Tuesday.
Gupta, however, said the government may look at introducing certain clauses for “reasonable restrictions” for implementation of national security, and ban child pornography — which is also being weighed by the Supreme Court.
In May last year, the SC had struck down Section 66A, which provides power to arrest a person for posting allegedly “offensive” content on websites, while terming liberty of thought and expression as “cardinal”. The government is yet to formally change the provisions in the law.
Talking about digital democracy, Gupta said that digital firms must learn from the mistakes made by Facebook in its Free Basics campaign — sending millions of responses — in response to the telecom regulator’s move to weigh in views on differential pricing on data plans and content.
In a digital democracy, social media as a tool is to make the masses more participative, which is helping start-ups discover innovative ways to connect its customers.
Sunil Jain, managing editor of The Financial Express, said that social media does not let you hide. “The government may start the campaign as a PR activity but later it becomes real… It creates a pressure system.”