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Manipur student bodies slam CM for “anti-tribal policy”

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Ibobi Singh source: thehindu.com

american-constitutionBy NewsGram Staff Writer

Guwahati: Pertaining to the prevailing situation in Manipur due to three controversial bills being passed in the Manipur state assembly, a number of tribal student bodies of Assam’s Karbi Anglong district have sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention.

After violence erupted last week following the Manipur government’s adoption of three landmark bills – Protection of Manipur People Bill 2015, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Bill 2015, and Manipur Shops and Establishment Bill 2015, at least nine people were killed and 20 seriously injured.

This outraged the student bodies who subsequently, appealed to the prime minister.

In a joint memorandum, the Karbi Students’ Association, the Rengma Naga Students’ Union, the Hmar Students’ Union, the Kuki Students’ Union, the Students’ and Youth Council, and the Khasi Students’ Union have together appealed to the prime minister to look into the problems faced by their fellow tribal indigenous people in Manipur.

On August 31, the three bills were unanimously passed in the assembly when the ruling Congress, in order to enact three laws to protect the interests of the people, signed an agreement with the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) on August 25.

Demanding an inner line permit system in the state similar to the ones in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland, the JCILPS had been spearheading a month-long agitation. However, the state’s hill tribes have claimed that the three bills would directly undermine the existing safeguards for the tribal hill areas regarding land-ownership and population influx as the primary threat for the tribal people came not from outside the state but from the Meitei people of the valley itself.

In the memorandum addressed to Modi and submitted to the Karbi Anglong deputy commissioner on Tuesday, the students’ bodies blamed Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh for the loss of the nine lives and condemned his “anti-tribal policy”.

“As such, he (Singh) has no moral right to continue as the chief minister and he should step down to restore peace and harmony in Manipur state,” it stated.

The memorandum urged the central government “to immediately intervene on the bills in question and request the government of Manipur to repeal or revoke the said amended bills which affect tribal rights”.

“We also want you to address the issues raised by the tribal people of the state in particular and the north-eastern states in general which is to protect the lives and properties of the tribal indigenous people from such type of government set-ups,” it said, adding that the tribal people could govern themselves and determine their future freely.

 

(With inputs from IANS)

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TikTok, Wikipedia Face Troubles With The Arrival of new Data Rules in India

As per the proposals, social media companies will have to modify their application as they are required to have a system in place by which a user can verify themselves

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the government could pull down information provided by platforms such as Wikipedia, potentially hampering its functioning in India. Wikimedia Commons

With the window to submit comments on India’s proposed personal data protection law closing on Tuesday, a period of anxious wait for final version of the Bill started for social media firms.

This comes even as global Internet companies have called on the government for improved transparency related to intermediary Guidelines (Amendment) Rules and allay fears about the prospect of increased surveillance and prompting a fragmentation of the Internet in India that would harm users.

As per the proposed amendments, an intermediary having over 50 lakh users in the country will have to be incorporated in India with a permanent registered office and address. When required by lawful order, the intermediary shall, within 72 hours of communication, provide such information or assistance as asked for by any government agency or assistance concerning security of the state or cybersecurity.

This means that the government could pull down information provided by platforms such as Wikipedia, potentially hampering its functioning in India. In the open letter to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, leading browser and software development platform like Mozilla, Microsoft-owned GitHub and Cloudflare earlier called for improved transparency by allowing the public an opportunity to see a final version of these amendments prior to their enactment.

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, which was introduced in Lok Sabha in the winter session last year, was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) of both the Houses. The government last month decided to seek views and suggestions on the Bill from individuals and associations and bodies concerned and the last date for submitting the comments was on Tuesday.

Prasad, while introducing the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha on December 11, announced that the draft Bill empowers the government to ask companies including Facebook, Google and others for anonymised personal data and non-personal data. There was a buzz when the Bill’s latest version was introduced in the Lok Sabha, especially the provision seeking to allow the use of personal and non-personal data of users in some cases, especially when national security is involved.

Several legal experts red-flagged the issue and said the provision will give the government unaccounted access to personal data of users in the country. In their submission to the JPC, several organisations also flagged that the power to collect non-personal and anonymised data by the government without notice and consent should not form part of the Bill because of issues regarding effective anonymisation and potential abuse.

“Clauses 35 and 36 of the Bill provide unbridled access to personal data to the Central Government by giving it powers to exempt its agencies from the application of the Bill on the basis of various broad worded grounds,” SFLC.in, a New Delhi-based not-for-profit legal services organisation, commented.

The Software Alliance, also known as BSA, a trade group which includes tech giants such as Microsoft, IBM and Adobe, among others said that the current version of the privacy bill pose substantial challenges, including the sweeping new powers for the government to acquire non-personal data, restrictions on data transfers, and local storage requirements.

The mandatory requirement for storing a mirror copy of all personal data in India as per Section 40 of the Srikrishna Bill has been done away with in the PDP Bill, 2019, meaning that companies like Facebook and Twitter would be able to store data of Indian users abroad if they so wish. But the bill prohibits processing of sensitive personal data and critical personal data outside India.What is more, what constitutes critical data has not been clearly defined.

TikTok
On a plain reading of the definition, online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, ShareChat and WhatsApp are likely to be notified as SMIs under the Bill. Wikimedia Commons

As per the proposals, social media companies will have to modify their application as they are required to have a system in place by which a user can verify themselves. So legal experts believe that some system to upload identification documents should be there and something like the Twitter blue tick mark should be there to identify verified accounts.

“The 2019 Bill introduces a new category of data fiduciaries called social media intermediaries (‘SMIs’). SMIs are a subcategory of significant data fiduciaries (‘SDFs’) and will be notified by the Central government after due consultation with the DPA, or the Data Protection Authority. Clause 26(4) of the Bill defines SMIs as intermediaries who primarily or solely enable online interaction between two or more users,” SFLC.in said.

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“On a plain reading of the definition, online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, ShareChat and WhatsApp are likely to be notified as SMIs under the Bill,” it added. (IANS)