India’s technology minister said on Tuesday that Twitter Inc had deliberately defied and failed to comply with the country’s new IT rules, which became effective in late May.
The new rules or the so-called Intermediary Guidelines, announced in February, are aimed at regulating content on social media firms such as Facebook, its WhatsApp messenger and Twitter, making them more accountable to legal requests for swift removal of posts and sharing details on the originators of messages.
The rules also require big social media companies to set up grievance redressal mechanisms and appoint new executives to coordinate with law enforcement.
India’s technology ministry wrote to Twitter on June 5, warning the company of “unintended consequences” if it did not obey the rules, Reuters previously reported.
Ravi Shankar Prasad did not directly say on Tuesday whether Twitter had lost intermediary protections, but a senior government official told Reuters that Twitter may no longer be eligible to seek liability exemptions as an intermediary or the host of user content in India due to its failure to comply with new IT rules.
“There are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision,” Prasad tweeted. “However, the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the 26th of May.”
Twitter, Prasad added, had chosen the “path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines.”
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment though it said on Monday it was keeping India’s technology ministry apprised of the steps it was taking.
“An interim Chief Compliance Officer has been retained and details will be shared with the Ministry directly soon,” it said. “Twitter continues to make every effort to comply with the new guidelines.
New Delhi-based digital advocacy group Internet Freedom Foundation said it was only up to courts, and not the government, to decide whether companies such as Twitter remained intermediaries for alleged non-compliance such as appointment of executives.
Growing tensions between India’s government and U.S. big tech have riled firms that have spent millions of dollars to build hubs in their largest growth market, to the extent some are rethinking expansion plans, people close to the matter have told Reuters previously.
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US Maintains Entry Restrictions Due To Rising Delta COVID-19 Cases
The United States said Monday it would maintain restrictions on international travel into the country, sidestepping European pressure, as cases rise of the Covid-19 Delta variant.
“We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
“The more transmissible Delta variant is spreading both here and abroad,” she said.
She said the trend of rising cases appeared likely to continue “in the weeks ahead,” although she repeated that it mostly affected unvaccinated people.
The United States has restricted travel from the European Union, Britain, China and Iran for more than a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, later adding other countries including Brazil and India.
The European Union in June opened up to travelers from the United States, typically requiring proof of vaccination or negative tests, under pressure from tourism-dependent nations such as Greece, Spain and Italy that feared another troubled year.
EU leaders have asked the United States to show reciprocity and President Joe Biden on July 15 said he would have an answer on the issue “within the next several days” after appeals by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
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Pope Hopes Olympic Games Will Be ‘Sign Of Hope’ In Pandemic
Pope Francis said Sunday he hopes the Tokyo Olympics, which opened Friday, will be a sign of hope and “universal brotherhood” during the coronavirus pandemic raging around the world.
“In this period of pandemic, let these games be a sign of hope, a sign of universal brotherhood and of a healthy competitive spirit,” the pontiff said at the end of the Angelus prayer.
“May God bless the organizers, the athletes and all those who are collaborating for this great celebration of sport,” he told faithful gathered on Saint Peter’s Square.
The Games opened officially on Friday in a nearly empty stadium after being postponed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Madagascar Foils Assassination Attempt On President Rajoelina
Several suspects were arrested on Tuesday concerning a foiled assassination attempt on Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina, the country’s prosecutor general’s office said.
“Several foreign and Madagascar nationals were arrested on Tuesday, July 20, as part of an investigation into an attack on state security,” said prosecutor Berthine Razafiarivony, in a statement released overnight.
“At this stage of the investigation, which is ongoing, the prosecutor general’s office assures we will shed light on this case,” she added.
“According to the evidence in our possession, these individuals had devised a plan for the elimination and neutralization of a number of people, including the head of state,” the attorney general said.
It added that investigations were underway, and further details could not be disclosed.
Rajoelina was sworn in as president of the island country in 2019 after a hard-fought election and a constitutional court challenge from his rival.
The extent of the plot, or how far advanced, was not immediately clear.
The statement did not specify the nationality of the foreign nationals.
Citing diplomatic sources, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that two French citizens are among the detained suspects.
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