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Freedom to express: Supreme Court calls Section 66A of the IT Act unconstitutional

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

In a remarkable judgement, Supreme Court has called Section 66A of the Information Technology act unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act holding it as a violation of Article 19(1)a of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech.

“Section 66A of the IT Act is struck down in its entirety…,” said the apex court bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman.

“Our Constitution provides for liberty of thought, expression and belief. In a democracy, these values have to be provided within constitutional scheme. The law (Section 66A) is vague in its entirety,” said Justice Nariman pronouncing the judgment.

“There is no nexus between public order and discussion or causing annoyance by dissemination of information. Curbs under Section 66A of the IT Act infringes on the public right to know.”

While some petitions have contended that the words, ‘offensive’  and ‘menacing’ in the Section are vague and can be misused to undermine the very foundation of democracy. On the other hand, the Government had claimed that the Section with its guidelines is a ‘ reasonable restriction’ the right to speech and expression.

Earlier, under Section 66A, any person sending ‘offensive’ messages from a computer or any other communication device like phone, tablet, laptop could be jailed up to a period of three years.

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Facebook Adding New Privacy Control Feature on its Android App

The 'Location Services' setting for iOS also comes with three choices -- Never, While Using and Always -- for when an app could access the precise location of the users

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Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Facebook is adding a new privacy control feature to its Android app that will allow users to block the app from collecting and saving their background location information.

“We’re introducing a new background location control on Facebook for Android so people can choose if they want us to collect location information when they’re not using the app,” Paul McDonald, Engineering Director, Location Infrastructure, Facebook wrote in a blog-post on Wednesday.

Until now, users using features location like “Nearby Friends” or “Check-in” on Facebook were asked to enable their “Location History” setting.

Enabling the “Location Sharing” feature shared the user location even when the app was not being used, allowing Facebook to store that history.

“With this update, you’ll have a dedicated way to choose whether or not to share your location when you aren’t using the app,” McDonald said.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Facebook is also updating the “Access Your Information” feature to include an estimate of users’ primary location at the city or postal code level.

“We’re not making any changes to the choices you’ve previously made nor are we collecting any new information as a result of this update,” McDonald added.

This update announcement came just days after Facebook’s security team had used location information to track missing interns and users deemed to be threats, The Verge reported.

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For iOS users though the location setting was not such big an issue as Facebook would send an alert to users who chose to turn on the “Location History” feature so that they could check to make sure their settings are right for them.

The ‘Location Services’ setting for iOS also comes with three choices — Never, While Using and Always — for when an app could access the precise location of the users. (IANS)