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No decision yet to bring Facebook, Twitter servers in India: Government

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Keeping the security threat in mind related to unlawful content on the internet, the central government has decided not to set up the servers of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in India, despite a large number of people using these websites.

“The government has not decided to get servers of popular social networking sites, like Hike, Facebook, Twitter, etc. established within the country,” Communications and IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

The government regularly interacts with these social media giants to resolve the issues of unlawful content surfacing from time to time on Internet, said Prasad.  He said that the security agencies are facing problem while dealing with encrypted communications administered by various service providers. World over service providers are administering services like WhatAapp, Viber, WeChat, Skype, Yahoo, Gmail  for sharing audio, video, image, data, and accessing other web services anytime and anywhere in a secure manner.

Prasad added that the security of these services is achieved through encryption technology, and the citizens from all over the world are mostly availing these services. “At times these services may also be used by anti-national and criminal elements, which pose a security threat,” the Minister said. The government had ordered all the telecom service providers to provide the lawful inception and monitoring details to the security agencies for all the services including WhatsApp, Viber etc., he added.

The lawful interception facilities provided by the telecom operators are helping the security agencies to intercept these encrypted communication services, but they are not able to decrypt some of encrypted intercepted communication to readable format.

“There are multifarious aspects involved in security enforcement agencies getting such encrypted communication in readable format such as technical, international relationship, legal and regulatory policy, commercial and security requirements etc.,” Prasad added.

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)