As the security establishment pushes for tighter checks in cyberspace, particularly on social media, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told police and intelligence officers to come up with “creative solutions” that do not unreasonably curb the freedom of expression on social media.
Singh acknowledged that social media and SMSes had been misused to fan violence recently in Muzaffarnagar as well as contributed to mass exodus of people from the North-East from Karnataka last year.
But given the potential that social media holds for being used for constructive purposes, Singh told a conference of police chiefs on Saturday that they needed to find “creative solutions which do not unreasonably curb the freedom of expression and the ease communication that social media does provide”.
The PM’s advice right came after Intelligence Bureau chief Asif Ibrahim lamented how Indian security agencies were handicapped with technical and procedural constraints.
The three-day conference — that extensively deliberated on protecting cyberspace from snooping by foreign agencies and security challenges posed by social media — advocated creation of “our own cyber space”.
Government sources said this was close to how the Chinese were able to keep a close watch on the Internet without having to go the US-based social media companies at the drop of a hat.
India is next only to the United States in terms of the number of requests filed to block, or access content on Google or Facebook.
Ibrahim said the conference of police chiefs had recommended that “foreign content providers (such as Facebook and Twitter) be brought within the ambit of Indian laws supplemented with creation of our own cyber space”.