Minister Rajeev Chandras – The New Indian Express

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Through PTI

NEW DELHI: No algorithm on any social media platform should violate basic Indian rights, and laws and case law should constantly evolve to keep pace with the changing nature of the Internet, said Minister of Rajeev Chandrasekhar Union.

The remarks by the Minister of State for Informatics come amid allegations that Facebook’s system and algorithms are fueling hate speech and fake news.

Recently, whistleblower Frances Haugen’s revelations sparked global concerns that Facebook has put profit over public good and not done enough to shed its ‘growth at any cost’ culture that has propelled its business. climb to capture 2.

91 billion monthly active users worldwide, including over 400 million in India.

When asked what action the Indian government would consider in the context of the allegations made by the whistleblower, Chandrasekhar said there are algorithms that replace human intervention and are also prone to failure.

“We understand that there are algorithms that replace human intervention and that these algorithms are also prone to failure, which may just be an unconscious failure or it may be a deliberate bias and that there is a need for algorithms to be designed by these platforms that are not. undermining the rights of our Indian citizens in article 14 (non-discrimination), article 19 (freedom of expression) and in Article 21 (right to privacy), “he told PTI.

These are basic rights of Indian citizens and “no algorithm on any platform should be able to violate this, as far as we know,” Chandrasekhar said.

Noting that the government is very aware of the issues of algorithmic bias, Chandrasekhar said he was personally aware of it and also spoke about it in 2019 in parliament.

There is a “basket of user damage issues” occurring every day in the online space, the minister said, adding that “it is necessary that our laws and jurisprudence are constantly evolving and following nature. changing Internet and all the good and the bad “.

“Now this is a process that our legal rules and laws, as they evolve, will start to tackle as I said, there is a basket of harm issues for users who occur every day. The IT law dates from 2008 and 2000. The rules are more recent, ”he observed.

He said the government and the IT ministry understand the ever-changing nature of cyberspace and the Internet, and will engage with industry and users on these issues on an ongoing basis.

“We will constantly try to evolve a framework where consumers are protected, they find the Internet safe and reliable for them and that intermediaries are responsible. We will continue to do so, whether on algorithms or on any other matter. what other problem, we will continue to make our efforts to do it, ”said Chandrasekhar.

Haugen, an employee of Facebook’s integrity team until May 2021, disclosed tens of thousands of internal documents, many of which came from employee chat sites, company presentations and research papers , who exposed the inner workings of Facebook.

She suggested that Facebook made changes to its “dangerous” algorithms that contributed to the division in the company, and realized those adjustments were preventing people from coming back to the platform.

She also filed complaints against the company with the US securities regulator.

Following the revelations, the ministry reportedly wrote to Facebook asking for information on the algorithms and processes used by the platform and asked for details on measures taken to protect users.

Facebook recently rebranded itself as Meta.

According to data cited by the Indian government earlier this year, there are 53 crore of WhatsApp users, 41 crore of Facebook subscribers and 21 crore of Instagram account holders in the country.

Earlier this year, India implemented new IT intermediary rules aimed at strengthening the accountability of large tech companies, including Twitter and Facebook.

The rules require social media platforms to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours and put in place a robust redress mechanism with a country-based agent.

Social media companies are required to remove posts depicting nudity or processed photos within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.

Large social media companies – those with more than 50 lakhs of users – are also required to publish a monthly compliance report disclosing details of complaints received and actions taken, as well as details of content proactively removed.

According to Chandrasekhar, the IT ministry is also planning massive outreach next year in the form of dialogue with the public, consumer forums, academia, industry and others on the online space. rapidly evolving and what more needs to be done to make sure the internet is open, secure and reliable.


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