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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Mozilla, Internet Society flag concerns over new social media rules

Mozilla, the not-for-profit behind the popular web browser Firefox, cautioned that the new rules could have a series of unintended consequences on the health of the internet as a whole.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
March 3, 2021 8:53:01 pm
Mozilla, Internet Society, new social media rulesMozilla also flagged “harsh” content takedown and data sharing timelines under the new rules and said provisions on traceability could break end-to-end encryption that would “weaken overall security and harm privacy”.

Mozilla and the US-based Internet Society have expressed concerns over the new IT rules for social media platforms, saying the rules could harm end-to-end encryption, substantially increase surveillance, promote automated filtering and prompt a fragmentation of the internet that would hurt users.

Mozilla, the not-for-profit behind the popular web browser Firefox, cautioned that the new rules could have a series of unintended consequences on the health of the internet as a whole.

“While many of the most onerous provisions only apply to ‘significant social media intermediaries’ (a new classification scheme), the ripple effects of these provisions will have a devastating impact on freedom of expression, privacy and security,” it said in a blogpost.

Mozilla also flagged “harsh” content takedown and data sharing timelines under the new rules and said provisions on traceability could break end-to-end encryption that would “weaken overall security and harm privacy”.

The new rules for intermediaries, announced last week, are aimed at addressing concerns like lack of grievance redressal, fake news and online safety of users amid rampant misuse of social media platforms.

The regulations distinguish between ‘social media intermediaries’ and ‘significant social media intermediaries’ with 50 lakh registered users as the threshold for the categorisation.

Significant social media intermediaries will have to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer, and all three officials should reside in India.

Industry watchers have raised concerns that these new rules could raise compliance costs for players, making it difficult for smaller companies to compete against bigger giants like Facebook and Google.

The Internet Society — an American non-profit organisation that aims to promote open development, evolution, and use of the internet — said any attempts to weaken encryption could undermine the digital security of individuals.

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